Gregoria takes big step towards breaking into world’s top five

GREGORIA Mariska (pic) is on track to achieve her goal to break into the top five in the world rankings this year.

The world No. 9 Indonesian women’s singles shuttler intends to perform consistently in every tournament that she participates in.

And she has shown steady progress in the past few tournaments.

Gregoria stormed into the Malaysian Masters final after outplaying India’s world No. 13 P. V. Sindhu 21-14, 21-17 in the semi-finals at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

It was Gregoria’s second win against the Indian after defeating the latter in the Spain Masters final to clinch her first World Tour title. This is also her first time reaching the final of a World Tour Super 500 tournament.

“Reaching the final is very meaningful to me because my progress in the past few years can be considered slow,” said Gregoria. But now, I’m able to prove myself, step up and perform better. “I’m happy to reach the final and hopefully this will be a breakthrough for me.

“But I don’t want to be satisfied so easily, so I will set my targets higher.

“I’m hoping to reach No. 5 in the world rankings but as we all know, the competition in women’s singles is very stiff, so I have to be consistent in every tournament.”

Gregoria will face Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the final today.

Gregoria is at a disadvantage when it comes to head-to-head records as she has only beaten the Japanese world No. 1 three times in 13 past meetings. It will be an uphill battle but Gregoria is staying calm.

However, looking on the bright side, Gregoria has survived the rubber game against Yamaguchi in last year’s Malaysia Masters.

“I’m sure that Yamaguchi will be well-prepared and did her research before entering the match. So, I didn’t want to think much about how I’ll play tomorrow (today). I just want to try my best and go all out,” said Gregoria.

Gregoria believes that the addition of coach Indra Wijaya is beneficial to the development of women’s singles in Indonesia.

“Coach Indra has joined us for around three months but I’ve only trained under him for a month, so I can’t comment much about it,” said Gregoria.

“We only have one coach previously, so he has helped a lot by coaching the women’s singles players. Hopefully, with his presence, we can bring Indonesia’s women’s singles team to a higher level.”

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