Sydney: Saina Nehwal clinched her second Australian Open Superseries badminton title after defeating Chinese shuttler Sun Yu in a hard-fought final in Sydney on Sunday.
Saina, who had won the title in 2014, scripted a fightback after conceding the first game 11-21 to Sun. Saina looked far from her best in the first game as Sun took an early lead and continued dominating. Sun was too good for Saina as the Indian shuttler was made to sweat by Sun Yu, who came up with a lot of sharp-angled returns.
After the thrashing in the first game, Saina lost composure. A frustrated Saina made quite a lot of unforced errors in the second game, which made it easy for her opponent. However, Saina gathered some momentum and was involved in long rallies with Sun. She came up with a remarkable fightback in later stages of the second game and clinched it 21-14. With almost nothing to choose between the two shuttlers, the final boiled down to the third game in which Saina and Sun were fighting to take the early lead. Unlike the first two games, both Saina and Sun were involved in a close contest till the match point was sealed. At the end, a difference of two points costed Sun the title.
The Australian Open title comes as a big boost ahead of Saina’s Rio Games campaign. The London Olympic bronze medallist has been facing a bit of title drought since her Indian Open Superseries win in 2015. Saina failed to defend the title at home earlier this year. Saina would have been happy to lay her hands on the trophy after her quarterfinal exits at All England and Indonesian Open in 2016.