Heartbreak again as Saina settles for silver at World C’ships
The world number two Indian went down 16-21 19-21 to her numero uno nemesis from Spain in a match which lasted 59 minutes. It was the second successive loss in a major final for Saina even though the silver medal she settled for is the best performance by an Indian in the showpiece.
Saina had incidentally lost to the same opponent in the All England Championships final earlier this year. This was India's fifth medal at the World Championship after P V Sindhu clinched the bronze twice in 2013 and 2014 and Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa notched up a bronze in women's doubles at the 2011 edition. Legendary shuttler Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a bronze at the 1983 edition. With a 3-1 head-to-head record over the Spaniard going into the match, Saina had the edge on paper.
But the gritty Spaniard, who got the better of Saina in the All England finals in their most recent encounter, seemed more pumped up when the proceedings started.
Clenching her fists and letting out a scream at almost every point won by her, Carolina caught the chair umpire's attention more than once for her antics and was even cautioned for abusing her racquet.
However, the world number one made sure that the scorecard ticked in her favour after breaking away from 7-7 when Saina sunk an easy return into the net. Placed comfortably at 11-8 when the lemon break was taken, Carolina made it 15-9 in no time courtesy errors by Saina and some <g data-gr-id="23">precisely-placed</g> shots from the baseline. The beleaguered Indian found it tough to deal with her rival's energy and floundered when challenged on pace.
In fact, the fierce smashes, which are a hallmark of Saina's game, came from Carolina's racquet, the most impressive being the one with which she earned her first game point. Down 13-20, Saina held on for a few points before Carolina closed out the first game when the Indian hit one wide after 24 minutes.
Saina might have lost her concentration: father Harvir
Saina Nehwal's father Harvir Singh on Sunday said the pressure of playing in her maiden Badminton World Championships final could have led to the Indian ace's defeat to Spain's Carolina Marin in the title clash of the mega event in Jakarta on Sunday. "I believe it was a psychological factor, she might have lost her concentration thinking she had to win," <g data-gr-id="57">Harvir</g> told reporters in Hyderabad. World No.2 Saina settled for the silver medal after going down 16-21 19-21 to her numero uno nemesis, who was also the defending champions. He added, "It's marvellous (Saina winning the silver). Saina tried her <g data-gr-id="89">best</g> but Marin is a little stronger. There is still a lot of badminton left in Saina and she will surely come back stronger. She needs to learn more skills and stay fit." It was the second successive loss in a major final for Saina even though the silver medal she settled for is the best performance by an Indian in the showpiece.