Saina retains crown but Kanetkar bites dust

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Rising Indian star Saina Nehwal outclassed her Korean rival Jang Soo Young and retained the women's singles crown.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Rising Indian star Saina Nehwal retained the women's singles crown in the $10,000 Indian International Badminton tournament in Mumbai on Friday. She outclassed her Korean rival Jang Soo Young in straight games with a polished display. But her compatriot Nikhil Kanetkar lost tamely to his higher ranked Korean opponent Lee Cheol Ho in the men's title-clash at the suburban Goregaon Sports Club's courts. Hyderabad teenager Saina totally outplayed her Korean rival with a fine mix of crafty net play and bodyline smashes in 30 minutes to win the one-sided women's final 21-9, 21-14 in half an hour. She received the top prize of $685 while Soo Young got $325. It was the Indian girl's second win in a row over the same opponent after her 21-18, 21-17 win in the semi finals of the World Junior Championship last week in Soo Young's backyard at Incheon where Saina eventually finished runner-up in the girls' singles. Saina swept her Korean rival Soo Young off her feet. But after her fine display the crowd was disappointed when left-handed Kanetkar, ranked 86th in the world, was beaten by his 76th ranked Korean rival Ho 21-11, 21-11 in less than half an hour in the men's title-clash. Saina should have won the women's final with an even bigger margin had she not tried too hard to finish off the points quickly after taking a big lead early in the second game which helped Soo Young to draw level at 10-all. (PTI)

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  • Badminton
  • Saina Nehwal

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