Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Saina Nehwal 21-18 PV Sindhu in 1st game

Saina Nehwal 21-18 PV Sindhu in 1st game

Gold Coast: India's badminton queens PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal set up the much-anticipated women's singles summit clash at the Commonwealth Games after winning their respective semifinals in contrasting fashion. It was India's 26th gold medal at the ongoing sporting event while Saina became the first Indian player to clinch two Commonwealth Games singles gold.

The brute force of Sindhu's smashes was something that Saina found hard to deal with. However, towards the end of the opening game, Sindhu saved four match points as she tried to stay in the contest.

The story was no different after the interval as Sindhu continued to take points at ease and stretched the lead, but Saina never dropped her shoulders and kept on fighting to get back into the game. She outplayed Mengyu Yu of Singapore 4-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-2, 11-7) to clinch the gold medal in women's singles table tennis. She led 14-11 and 18-16, but Saina was not ready to give in.

While Sindhu stomped past defending Champion Michelle Li of Canada, beating Li in straight games with identical scores that read 21-18 twice, Saina overcame a firm challenge from Scotswoman, Kirsty Gilmour, as she beat Kirsty 21-14,18-21,21-17, in Gold Coast.

Sindhu did earn a game point by finishing another long rally with a smash victor.

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 flawless strategy. The lady, who looked the hungrier of the two all through, was surprisingly late in picking one up as Sindhu made it 21-21. Sindhu managed to hold on to the lead for a long time. Serving for the gold, Saina forced a wide stroke from Sindhu and then let out a scream to celebrate the triumph. She was able to convert her aggression into points, going into the mid-break of the first game with a handy 11-6 lead. The 2010 Gold medallist and the 2014 bronze medallist Sindhu had clashed at the Senior National championship finals last November with the former having the last laugh after a gruelling match.

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