Saina defeats Sindhu to retain crown

Wednesday 20th February 2019 06:06 EST

Saina Nehwal has won the battle between India's badminton queens and retained her crown by defeating her arch rival and top seed PV Sindhu 21-18, 21-15 in Guwahati. With this victory, Saina also maintained her perfect record in the Senior Nationals with four titles in as many appearances. The Saina-Sindhu clash was the cynosure of all eyes. Sindhu was off the blocks in style, winning the first three points. But Saina did not take long to find her groove. The defending champion first leveled the scores and then took a slender lead (11-10) at the break.

Saina, who will turn 29 next month, maintained a steady lead and didn’t allow Sindhu to move ahead thereafter. Playing aggressively, Saina used powerful smashes to good effect. Sindhu’s returns were mostly in mid-court areas which were finished in a flash by Saina, who converted her second game point to grab the opener at 21-18.

Like in the first game, Sindhu pocketed the first couple of points in the second, hinting at a fightback. Sindhu was ahead a few times (5-3 and 7-6) but after tat she lost steam. Saina increased the intensity by firing bullet smashes to every corner of the court. Her aggressive brand of play caught Sindhu completely unawares and she came under tremendous pressure. Saina continued her tempo and sealed the fate of Sindhu on the second match point (21-15) in 44 minutes. It was Saina’s back-to-back win in the Nationals after she won in Nagpur last year.

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