10:35 am - Saturday September 22, 2018

Saina Nehwal outclasses Carolina Marin, conquers Australia

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The dominant narrative surrounding Saina Nehwal may be all about heroic tales, where she slays Chinese dragons and climbs podiums, but the nuts and bolts of her succesful career as India’s ace badminton player lie in the unglamorous victories she scores over unfancied, lower-ranked, non-Chinese opponents. Spain’s World No. 11 Carolina Marin, who suffered a 21-18, 21-11 defeat on Sunday, was one such opponent and the 24-year-old Indian claimed The Star Australian Badminton Open in Sydney, her seventh Super Series title from nine finals.

Overcoming blisters on her toes that troubled had her in the semis, Nehwal lifted her first Super Series title in 20 months to announce her return from the fringes where she had been drifting for the whole of 2013 after the highs of Olympic success in 2012. Nehwal stands apart from the crowd of Indian shuttlers known for not putting opponents away in matches they are favoured to win. She has been known to pounce on opportunities — described by her coach as ‘hunger’ and by fans as ‘killer instinct’. Nehwal brought her ruthlessness to the court to down a fast-improving player, Europe’s best, known for her uninhibited aggression.

Nehwal asserted herself with early leads in both games 5-2 in the opener and 3-1 in the second, and did not fall back from there to allow the Spaniard an opening, despite the left-hander’s attempts to make her steep attack and southpaw angles count.

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