Saina pips Sindhu to clinch gold; Kidambi Srikanth settles for silver

Aubrey Yates
April 15, 2018

Saina Nehwal made up for her disappointing Rio Olympics as she defeated fellow Indian and rival P.V. Sindhu to win her second Commonwealth Games badminton singles gold on Sunday. Saina was also see getting emotional, as she was garlanded with the medal. She went into the mid-break with a 11-8 lead and seemed the match would go into a decider.

Former world number one Nehwal, 28, a poster girl of Indian sport, used her greater experience to peg back the 22-year-old Sindhu and the decisive moment came at 18-18 in the second game when a mammoth rally went Nehwal's way. Saina displayed superb form and her famous fighting abilities to clinch a 21-18, 23-21 victory in the high-pressure match that lasted an hour to bag India's 26th gold medal of the Games.

Sindhu struggled to control the power she put on her shots, losing at least four points for pushing the shuttle outside and trailed 6-11 at the lemon break.

It all started at the shooting ranges in Brisbane, where Sanjeev Rajput shattered the Games' qualifying record before finishing on top in the 50m rifle 3 position final. He lost 21-19, 14-21, 14-21 to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei to seal India's 19th silver and 65th medal overall in this edition.

Saina was sacked up and played with power and aggression to put Sindhu under pressure right from the start. Srikanth then made wise use of the angles to bridge the gap to 4-5. Sindhu managed to hold on to the lead for a long time. She drew level once again with some excellent net play before Saina toook the lead once again with a well placed smash. Both the badminton players started strongly and gave fierce competition to each other.

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"I only watched the end part of the second game".

But Saina was back in lead with a cross-court smash that Sindhu just could not reach. In a spectacular turn of events, the women's singles final of the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be an all-India affair, which is a first in a major worldwide event.

35-year-old Lee now has six medals at the Commonwealth Games.

"He told me that my best will come in the finals even though my trainings were never this high, Heena posted for her husband, who is also her coach".

In the BWF events, Saina beat Sindhu 21-13, 21-19 in the 2018 Indonesia Masters and in the 2014 India Grand Prix Gold Saina defeated the Olympic silver medallist 21-14, 21-17.

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