Saina Nehwal was declared the winner of the Indonesia Masters 2019 on Sunday but not in the way she would have hoped for. The Indian shuttler picked up the title as the reigning Olympic and World Champion Carolina Marin retired with an injury in the opening game of their final in Jakarta.
Saina is now the 1st Indian shuttler to win a medal at the Olympics, win a Superseries event, win a World Tour 500 event, win a silver at the World Championships Indonesia Masters.
Marin started the women’s singles final well, winning the first three points of the match. The Spaniard was aggressive in her approach, with Saina claiming her first point after an unforced error by Marin, who still led by 4-1.
Marin had taken a seven-point lead and was up 9-2 when she appeared to painfully injure her right knee while executing an overhead forehand smash on the jump. She collapsed on the court, wriggled in pain before getting up, limping and deciding to continue the match.
The three-time world champion’s brave decision fetched her the next point with a smash on Saina’s body but had to withdraw from the final immediately afterwards, limping back in tears.
The London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina, who last won a BWF title in 2017 in Malaysia, said after the match, “It is important year for all of us. This was not good at all. She is a tough competitor, she started off well and it is unfortunate what happened today.”
Saina, who had suffered a shin injury late last year, said, “I just came out of injury. I played this events to see how good is this. and I’m happy I could play the semifinals at Malaysia and final here. Looking forward to get back to shape and play next tournament.”
“I have been getting injured in the last few years. I always try to come back stronger, there is no secret. I want to thank physios and coaches who are supporting me a lot,” she added.
Saina had won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, a bronze at the Asian Games, besides reaching finals at the Denmark, Indonesia Masters and Syed Modi International.