Saina Nehwal staged a scintillating comeback to defeat reigning world champion Carolina Marin and retain the women’s singles title, while Parupalli Kashyap beat K Srikanth in an all-India final to win men’s singles crown of the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament here today.
World number three Saina scraped past the seventh-ranked Spaniard 19-21 25-23 21-16 in a see-saw battle lasting an hour and 19 minutes to bag the title.
With the gruelling win, Saina maintained her 100 per cent win record against Carolina in three career meetings.
Third seeded Kashyap, meanwhile, stunned world number five Srikanth 23-21 23-21 to clinch the men’s sigles title after a gruelling 52-minute contest.
Saina showed steely resolve after losing the first game from a 16-12 cushion. The match could have been easier for the Hyderabadi had she not allowed Carolina to come back after gaining a healthy lead on more than one occasion.
Saina was surging ahead in the second game as well with a 10-6 lead before the 21-year-old Spaniard fought back to go 15-12 up. It was a neck and neck battle from thereon with the Indian saving a couple of match points. She eventually managed to level the match on her third game point.
The Hyderabadi did not repeat the mistakes of the first two games in the deciding third game, taking a 9-4 lead before wrapping up the match on her third match point.
The men’s singles final match turned out to be a closely fought affair with both players refusing to give an inch.
In the opening game, Kashyap managed to take a lead on a couple of occasions but every time top seed Srikanth levlled the scores at some stage.
It was a hard-fought game from 16-16 to 21-21 before Kashyap reeled off two quick points when it mattered the most, to run away with the first game.
Second game also went on similar lines till 13-13 before world number 15 Kashyap won four points on a trot to open up a 17-13 lead and then further extended it to 19-15.
But not the one to give it up without a fight, Srikanth picked up four successive points to make it 19-19.
Tied once more on 21-21, Kashyap yet again kept his cool to earn the two most crucial points and seal the issue in his
In mixed doubles, Indian pair of Manu Attri and K Maneesha went down to top seeded Indonesian combo of Riky Widianto and Puspita Richi Dili 17-21 17-21 to finish runners-up.
Elated after defending her women’s singles title, Saina termed the victory as a “great” win.
“It was a great win. I have been working hard for this tournament and really wanted to defend my title and to finally do it and that too by beating Caroline in the final is always a confidence booster,” said Saina.
“I have beaten her twice in the past but she is a top level player, the reigning world champion. So overall the right kind of start I was looking for,” she added.
Kashyap said the victory came at a time when he needed it badly.
“It was an important victory for me. I needed this win badly. It is always nice to get an early win under the belt at
the start of the season.
“It was a tough match. We haven’t played each other in the last one year. So it was more of each of us anticipating each other’s strokes. The rallies were also either short or went on long. But am happy with my performance. It was very satisfying,” Kashyap admitted.