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Superb Saina Nehwal clinches Australian Open

Superb Saina Nehwal clinches Australian Open Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal has clinched her second title of the year, by beating Spaniard Carolina Marin 21-18, 21-11 in the Australian Open Super Series final on Sunday.

Saina took just 43 minutes to defeat her Spanish counterpart in straight games. The 24-year-old started slowly but raced to a 11-4 lead in the first game. Carolina tried to make a comeback but the Indian hung on and clinched the opener 21-18.

The second game proved to be an easy affair for the London Olympic bronze medallist as she kept the pressure on Carolina, who was playing her first Super Series final. The 21-year-old struggled to maintain the first game’s intensity and committed a number of errors.

Saina produced her trademark smashes and stretched the lead to 19-9 in the second game to demoralise Carolina. The Hyderabadi made a few errors towards the end but quickly adjusted and clinched the encounter.

“I am very happy with the win,” Saina said. “My hard has work paid off. My coaches have worked really hard to keep me injury-free. This victory could not have come at a better time for me.”

“This is an extremely important year for me as I would be defending the Commonwealth Games gold medal and the Asian Games are also there. So, it will boost my confidence,” she added.

Saina, who had won the Indian Open Grand Prix badminton tournament earlier this year, is the only Indian left in the competition, after PV Sindhu crashed out in the quarterfinals of the USD 750,000 tournament.

Earlier, Saina had rediscovered her form in the semifinals when she defeated China’s Wang Shixian 21-19, 16-21, 21-15. There was a very little to separate the two but the Chinese was high on confidence after registering back-to-back victories over the Indian.

The Indian shuttler looked confident heading into the encounter and won the opening game. Wang levelled the match when she took the second set but Saina chased down the Chinese and clinched the victory.

“At the highest level I think winning a Super Series title is very very difficult even once. But I am happy to be playing a Super Series final for the 10th time in my career,” Saina said.