Saina Nehwal on Saturday won her second consecutive and fourth overall Senior Nationals women’s single badminton title as she defeated PV Sindhu 21-18, 21-15 in the final in Guwahati.
The 28-year old Saina defended her title successfully as she took on rival Sindhu in the final. Whhile top seed Sindhu had a positive start, making the most of unforced errors by Saina and taking the first three points, the Indonesia Open champion found her groove and gave a fightback to make it 5-5.
Saina played an aggressive game, using her powerful smashes to keep Sindhu on the backfoot as she entered the mid-game break with a lead of a solitary point. The former World No. 1 went on to extend her lead after the first break, making it 15-11 as Sindhu made one unforced error after the other. Sindhu managed to win a point courtesy of a brilliant cross-court smash but then lost two points in a row because of misjudged shots, trailing 18-15.
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The first game then had to be halted as some of the stadium lights went dim. It took a few minutes for the organisers to figure out and restore the lights while Sindhu could be seen complaining to the chair umpire. Sindhu returned to claim two back-to-back points and bridging the gap to just one point before Saina squashed her efforts by winning the game 21-18.
The second game started in a similar fashion with Sindhu taking the initial lead before Saina made a comeback to make it 5-5. The pressure was on Sindhu as she went into the second game interval trailing Saina 11-9, before the Commonwealth Games gold medallist extended her lead to 15-12. Saina defeated Sindhu for the third consecutive time as she succesfully defended her Senior Nationals title on Saturday.
In the men’s category, Sourabh Verma completed a hat-trick of titles, claiming the crown by defeating young Lakshya Sen in straight games. Sourabh showed great composure and tactical brilliance to outplay 17-year-old Lakshya, a Asian junior champion, 21-18 21-13 in a lop-sided contest.
In men’s doubles, second seeded makeshift pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty clinched the title after beating top seeds Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran 21-13 22-20 in 33 minutes.