PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal entered the final of the Senior National Badminton Championship with two titles to their name. And after a thrilling contest which went both ways, Nehwal emerged on top 21-17, 27-25 to win the title in front of a packed and extremely loud Nagpur crowd. They had a 1-1 head-to-head record and now Saina has edged her fellow top shuttler in that department as well. In the men’s singles final, HS Prannoy caused bit of an upset when he beat a much fancied Kidambi Srikanth in three games to bag the national title.
PV Sindhu vs Saina Nehwal, Senior National Badminton Championships Final:
1937 hrs IST: Match point number 6. And this time Saina has done it. Sindhu goes down and picks a near impossible. But Saina continues and goes on to win. Saina wins her third national championship title. She wins 21-17, 27-25! What a scintillating game to end the contest. Nagpur saw the doubles go down the distance and this game, too, reached its nervous peak.
1936 hrs IST: Match point number 5. Sindhu with a dominant start to the point. Aggressive and has Saina making an error. 25-25. Sindhu with a poor smash into the net. Saina smiles
1934 hrs IST: Match point number 4. And this time it is Saina making an error. Sends her forehand into the sidelines. Tries to find the side line but it is touch wide. Sindhu staying in it. 24-24. Sindhu with a mistake on her serve
1932 hrs IST: Match point number 3. Sindhu once again gets the better of Saina with a fierce smash. At 23-23, Sindhu errs once again.
1930 hrs IST: Match point number 2. And once again Sindhu is on hand to strive and work hard towards keeping the game and the final going. She sends an angled smash with no chance for Saina. 22-22. WHAT A RALLY! Both go back and forth, front and back, before Sindhu sends her half smash into the net.
1929 hrs IST: But Saina with a fantastic return of serve and Sindhu can’t send it back. 21-21. Short reply by Sindhu on Saina’s low shot and it is thumped back for a controlled smash.
1929 hrs IST: Into Sindhu’s territory and she makes the most of it. HUGE smash by Sindhu and she has the game point now. Her first.
1928 hrs IST: MATCH POINT SAINA! Superb touch and control by Sindhu to keep moving and eventually sees Saina making an error while trying to send a drop shot. 20-20!
1927 hrs IST: Moves to 19-19 now with both making an error each.
1925 hrs IST: Bit of a misjudgement from Saina. Lets the shuttle fall and it lands comfortably in in the end. And picks up another point off a Sindhu error. Staying extremely close. And now Sindhu misjudges it. She was there to pick it up but thought it was going out but it landed in. Right on the line. Error by Sindhu and it is 18-18
1922 hrs IST: PV Sindhu is in the lead and she is finding all the angles she can find. Rakes up a four point advantage to lead 15-11 in the second game. But Saina reduces the gap to two before Sindhu forces her into stretching her neck muscles. On to 17-14 now
1918 hrs IST: PV Sindhu leads Saina Nehwal 11-8 in the second game. Sindhu led early, Saina came back and the former has taken lead again
1915 hrs IST: Sindhu starts the brighter of the two players. She has the measure and finally finding the angles and touches she needs to outfox Saina. But the Hyderabadi is not an easy opponent to drift away
1908 hrs IST: Sindhu had come from a game down to beat Ruthvika Shivani Gadde in the semifinals on Tuesday. Upped the ante then to pick up the win. Can she overturn things here too but against a much biggert fish?
1905 hrs IST: GAME! Saina Nehwal wins the opening game 21-17 as Sindhu sends her smash attempt down the line just a touch wide.
1903 hrs IST: Miscue by Sindhu while trying to push the shuttle into the final third. Sindhu then makes an error after a close call. Umpire overrules the linesman. 20-17 and game point
1902 hrs IST: But Saina is on hand to keep her lead in tact. Forces Sindhu into an error. But makes one of her own. It is only a touch wide but the linesman calls it wide. No reviews here.
1902 hrs IST: But Sindhu is not one to go away. Reduces the deficit to one point with three straight points. The latest a thumping smash that goes unreturned.
1901 hrs IST: Saina is all over it in the first game. Has a game plan to keep shuttle into Sindhu’s body and proving decisive so far. 17-13 in the first game
1857 hrs IST: Sindhu with exquisite touch at the net all while leaning forward. Pushes the shuttle to the back of the court and beyond Saina’s reach. But it is Saina who is in the ascendancy. Leads 15-11
1852 hrs IST: Saina Nehwal pulls ahead with some smart play in the opening game. She takes a three point lead at 10-7. Sindhu claws back with two quick points. Saina leads 11-9 at the breather in the first game
1847 hrs IST: Even start to the proceedings. 3-3 in the first game. They know each other’s game really well after long time spent together. Nehwal takes little lead at 5-3 with thumping smash into Sindhu’s body. But the tall shuttler comes back with what has been her most improved shot in the deft touches at the net. Levels it at 5-5
1843 hrs IST: Finally the players are on court. SINDHU VS SAINA IS LIVE! Both have two championship titles. Who will take lead?
1838 hrs IST: This is true. We’re still waiting for the final to begin. Trophies being handed out. Cheques being awarded. Speeches being made.
1823 hrs IST: Men’s doubles goes down to the wire. Lots of drama in the final game and to top it all off, some spectacular celebrations. The contest between Manu Attri/B. Sumeeth Reddy and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty goes to the end. Attri and Reddy come out on top to win the final game 25-23.
1715 hrs IST: Prior to the big finale, it was Kidambi Srikanth taking on HS Prannoy in the men’s singles final. Prannoy emerged victorious 21-15, 16-21, 21-7 at the end of a marathon
1700 hrs IST: The big game in Nagpur. The crowd in the Maharashtra city are set to see a showdown between the top-two ranked women in India. PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal in the final of women’s singles category.