Gold Cost: Saina Nehwal has claimed her second individual Commonwealth Games gold medal by defeating World No 3 PV Sindhu 21-18, 23-21 in a riveting women’s singles final on Sunday at Gold Coast, Australia.
Gold for Saina and silver for Sindhu gave India its fourth and fifth badminton medals and took to 62 the overall tally at the Gold Coast Games.
With this win Saina, ranked 12th in the world, took her overall head-to-head record against Sindhu to 4-1. The last time these two shuttlers met in the final of an event was at last year’s National Badminton Championships where Saina won 21-17, 27-25 to clinch her third title.
In a nutshell, Sunday’s gold medal match was about Saina’s relentless attacking approach. Sindhu looked hampered and was unable to find her range, which the vastly experienced Saina exploits ruthlessly. An aggressive Saina dictated the rallies in the early exchanges of game one, moving up 9-4 and then 11-6 with Sindhu struggling to respond. Sindhu rallied back to make it 14-18 as some of her trademark smashes began to materialise, but Saina was too good.
The 28-year-old did not let her aggression drop in the second game, even when Sindhu took a four-point lead. Saina repeatedly targeted Sindhu’s backhand and made her rush towards the net, and a hat-trick of smashes against her much younger opponent ensured the lead did not swell.
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. The longest rally of the game – 64 shots – made it game point for Sindhu, but two returns from her that went out of play made it match point for Saina