Want to hear about a real game? Olympic medallists Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu battled for badminton supremacy in national level women’s single badminton at the finale of Senior Badminton National Championship at Nagpur on Wednesday.
It was champion vs champion on Tuesday. Saina Nehwal returned to the senior nationals after a decade and gave a master class in tenacity and retrieving ability to regain the crown, that too against World No 2 player PV Sindhu. The 27-year-old Saina, a former world number one, got the better of Sindhu, the Olympic and World Championship silver medallist, 21-17, 27-25 in a pulsating summit clash that lasted 54 minutes. With this win, Saina Nehwal clinched her third national crown fittingly by winning a magnificent rally – the longest of the match – with her signature smash against Sindhu.
The game was filled with energy, while Nehwal was targeting Sindhu’s midriff with her smashes, the latter concentrated on catching her opponent with sharp drops and net dribbles. Nehwal was first to get off the block when she opened a small 5-3 lead and knowing well that she was on the slightly advantageous side of the court, soon went on the offensive. She went for expansive smashes at the slightest of opportunity and they came off more often than not. The girls fought for scores and keeping themselves alive through the game and Saina quickly got her act together and Sindhu hit a smash out to lose the opener 17-21.
In the second match, Sindhu took the lead with 14-18 at one stage, but Nehwal was able to counter Sindhu’s game plan once again as she retrieved every drop and dribble to earn her first match point. She missed the opportunity on the first attempt and the intensity of the rallies just kept going up as no player was willing to give an inch to the other. Sindhu saved a series of match points to stay alive in the game. But Nehwal finally closed the match on her sixth match point and let out a loud of cry of ‘come on!’ This was Nehwal was back to her best to get a clean win of 27-25 and her third national title.