Saina Nehwal Defeats PV Sindhu


Saina Nehwal once again proved that she has the killer instinct required to win the big matches as she beat PV Sindhu to clinch her second Commonwealth Games women's singles gold, eight years after she bagged her first in New Delhi.

Their first face-off since Nehwal returned from a career-threatening knee injury in 2016, came at the Senior National final and the Commonwealth Games summit clash followed a similar pattern with the 28-year-old once again pulling off a heist against her much younger opponent with a ideal strategy. It looked like she would take the first game easily, but Sindhu staged a great comeback to narrow down the lead but Saina closed down the first game. She had won two of their three career meetings and had also defeated Sindhu in the final of the national championships past year. Also, a win here at the Carrara Sports Arena means the Haryana-born shuttler was unbeaten in all of her matches in the Gold Coast.

In fact, Saina's overall head-to-head record vs Sindhu is 3-1, including two wins in BWFevents.

Many expected Saina to come out as second best in the foray given her constant injury issues coupled with Sindhu's recent form, but defying all odds, she added another victory over her Indian counterpart in absolute style. Saina kept Sindhu guessing with her drop shots at net and was in complete control of the match.

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Down 14-18, Saina rebounded to make it 19-19 in an engrossing display of shuttle skills and temperament in which her superior attitude preyed on Sindhu's apparent weaknesses. By the first break, the Olympic bronze medalist was leading the tie 11-6. But Nehwal, known for her retrieving game, has never followed that strategy against her compatriot and prefers to go on an all-out attack mode.

Saina had forced the lead right at the start of the first game and continued to increase the advantage at a steady pace.

Sindhu did earn a game point by finishing another long rally with a smash victor. On another hand, PV Sindhu improved on her Commonwealth 2014, where she won a bronze, as she secured silver this time. The 28-year-old Saina then showed some true grit and wealth of experience on the battleground and destroyed the challenge of her Indian opponent. After the game was level at 19-19, a see-saw battle began between the two Indians with rallies going as long as 68 seconds.