What's the story?
After 54 minutes of scintillating badminton, Saina Nehwal clinched the women's singles crown at the Senior National Badminton Championships, defeating PV Sindhu in the final which ended 21-17 27-25. The World No. 11 saved a game point in the second game at and in a dramatic end to the match, sealed the deal at 27-25 after spurning multiple match point chances.
Speaking in the TV telecast after the match, Nehwal thanked chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, for his role in the shuttler's recent upsurge and her win in the tournament. An ecstatic Nehwal said, "I would like to thank Gopi sir and the team for working on my movement and helping me improve my game. They have played quite an important role in this win,"
Playing in front of a packed house in Nagpur, both shuttlers put on a great show. Nehwal was quick to acknowledge their support, stating, "I would like to thank all the fans for coming here and watching the matches. I'm sure the youngsters will learn a lot from this tournament."
In case you didn't know
Seeded one and two respectively, Sindhu and Nehwal faced off in the finals of the nationals. In the semis, Sindhu fought back from one game down to overcome Ruthvika Shivani G.'s challenge and on the other hand, Nehwal won in two games against Anura Prabhudesai.
The heart of the matter
After a tense start to the first game, it was the more experienced Nehwal who seized the initiative early. From 10-9, she raced into a 17-12 lead and looked set to take the game with ease. However, Sindhu fought back and reduced the deficit to 18-17 but the former world number one took the next three points to clinch the first game 21-17.
The second game saw Sindhu power ahead and at 18-14, the match seemed to be heading into a decider. However, Nehwal took the next five points to take the lead and then opened up a match point chance at 20-19. However, it was saved by Sindhu, who then missed out on a similar opportunity.
In the end, it was Nehwal who held her nerve and took the second game 27-25 on her sixth championship point attempt.
The shuttlers now return to the international circuit and both Sindhu and Nehwal are likely to be seen in action next at the China Open Super Series Premier, which starts on November 14.
It was a thrilling match, to say the least, and in the end, Nehwal ran out a deserved winner.