Nagpur : Saina Nehwal beat PV Sindhu 21-17, 27-25 in the blockbuster final of Senior National Badminton Championships in Nagpur on Wednesday to lift her third nationals title.
Saina, who has played nationals thrice to win the tournament all three times, led the first game from the very beginning. Even though Sindhu kept trying to narrow the gap, Saina did not let go of the lead, going into the break point with a lead of 11-9. Saina eased her way with smart play to win the first game. Saina knew she was the better player at that point and could be seen smiling during the game.
The 2nd seed Sindhu started the second game in control, going into the break point 11-7. What turned out to be was a great series of rallies and a convinced Saina not ready to give up.
The match reached its peak point after the two stood on equal points at 19. Superb rallies followed with a total of six match points. If Nehwal took a point, it was followed by a beautiful strike that put Sindhu back in the game. If Sindhu took a point, she was countered by Nehwal. Both went back and forth, front and back, before Sindhu sent her half smash into the net.
The blockbuster final was expected between the two popular Indian shuttlers when they confirmed participation in the tournament. Both of them notched up contrasting victories in their respective semifinals. While Sindhu was surprisingly stretched by Ruthvika Shivani before prevailing 17-21, 21-15, 21-11 in the semifinals, Saina hardly broke a sweat as she defeated fifth seed Anura Prabhudesai 21-11 21-10.