Saina Nehwal clinches Austrlian Open Super Series Women’s title with her second win


Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal defeated China’s Sun Yu 11-21, 21-14, 21-19 in a 72-minute thriller winning the Australian Open Super Series women’s title on Sunday today on June 12, 2016 at the Sydney Sports Centre. This is her second Australian Open win and with this, the World No. 8 has managed to claim her maiden title this season.
Two years after she first lifted the title, Saina became the first shuttler to win the Australian Open for a second time. This was Saina’s first final after she lost to Li Xuerui in China last November. The win also rapidly improves her chances of a second consecutive podium finish at the Rio Olympics 2016.
Her return to form also comes at the right time. With the Olympics slated to get underway a little over a month from now, Saina regaining the Australian Open title is just the tonic she needed ahead of the sporting mega-event in Brazil. As was evident from her performance in Sydney, she has looked rejuvenated after finally having recovered from the nagging injuries that proved her undoing in the previous few tournaments.
After looking off-colour in the first game, the World No. 8 roared back to clinch the second and third game quite comprehensively in the end. In the first game when both Saina and Sun were going neck and neck, Saina had squandered the advantage. It wasn’t the case in the next one though, as Saina produced brilliant returns to catch the Chinese shuttler off-guard. From 4-4, the Chinese had raced to 8-4, and before Saina could regroup, the gap had already widened. It was only a matter of time before Sun sealed the first game 21-11. The World No. 12 stood out with her attacking ploys, forcing Saina to defend than lay out an attack of her own.
Perhaps it was just the tonic Saina needed. In the second game, the same ploy was operated by Saina. She returned every forceful smash with a drop shot, which Sun failed to get past the net. Saina’s unforced errors came down drastically, contrary to Sun’s. Saina’s play was remarkably better, while Sun’s was a stark contrast from the first game. In game 2, Saina seized the advantage and took away a 14-11 lead after trailing 8-10. Another aspect where Saina stood out was with her challenges. Barring two, all of them were spot on.
It was then that Saina produced her clinical and aggressive best, covering great court area and swiftly moving towards the net. She covered the backside with a lot of agility and peppered the rival’s court with lethal smashes, few of which were aimed at Sun’s body. Once the decider got underway, Saina seized an initial advantage, mostly making the Chinese move and tire her. At 11-9, the Indian got an opportunity and she changed sides, again moving back to the part of the court from where she had played an almost spotless second game.

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