Evening was the time when my Facebook news feed was flooded with only one report – “Saina Nehwal defeats Sun Yu to win the second Australian Open”. On 11th of June, coach Vimal had termed Saina’s performance as “perfect”. Saina portrayed the same spirit in the finals of Australian Open and made India proud with a 21-14 and 21-19 win. The match was finished in a matter of 72 minutes only. This is the second time that Saina Nehwal has won the much coveted Australian Open Super Series for India. After Srikanth being knocked out of the tournament, all the hopes had been centred on Saina. Seems like prayers of Indians have finally been answered by God himself!
SAINA NEHWAL MAKES INDIA PROUD
With this win, Saina has managed to keep her World’s Number 8 maiden title intact. She is also the first shuttler to win Australian Open twice. Prior to the finals, Saina had an impressive 5-1 record. With this victory, she only took the lead ahead while showing her badminton prowess throughout the tournament. It finally seems as if the Indian shuttler has completely recovered from the injuries which she had sustained earlier. These nagging injuries had also been her undoing in previous tournaments, thus maintaining a wide gap between her and victory.
Her first match against Sun was not played well. She seemed to be off the beat. But she roared back to clinch the other two matches. In the first match, when both Sun and Saina were playing with equal vigility, Saina let the advantages rift away. From 4-4 , Sun managed to race to 8-4 and finally bet Saina with 21-11 in the first match. Sun was using attacking ploys which left no option for Saina other than defending her own side. However, Saina gave competitive returns to the Chinese shuttler in the second and third match, taking her off guard. Losing the first match was the only tonic which Saina needed. She adopted the same ploy which Sun used against her in the first match. She returned every powerful smash with a clean drop shot. A much frustrated Sun was unable to keep pace and failed to send her defending shots across the net. Frustration was much obvious on her face. Hence Saina seized the opportunity and scored 14-11. She then covered a large expanse of the court with a lot of agility. She peppered Sun’s court with lethal smashes, thus winning the first match with 21-14.
The end of the second match was climactic. The Chinese shuttler somehow managed to score two more points, but Saina was keeping up with her offensive ploy. She kept playing attacking shots, drawing Sun close to net with deceptive strokes. With a 17-12, Sun kept playing with high spirits. She managed to score seven more points. In the end, Sun netted one return stroke while playing one of the Saina’s smashes. This inched Saina close to victory and she finally won the match with 21-19. Close huh ?
In April, Saina was at the number 1 position among the female shuttlers. In a matter of two months, she slipped to the 8th spot because of her injuries. Her Sunday’s performance was a witness as to how much she had worked on her fitness levels. Her return to perfection was well timed with Olympics just round the corner. Winning the Australian Open is the right tonic for her. She needed it in the light of the mega sport event in Brazil which will take place later next month. Well, we all can just congratulate her for her recent gain and hope she continues to win accolades for India.