India ace Saina Nehwal today notched up a straight-game victory over rising shuttler P V Sindhu in the women's singles competition to help Hyderabad Hotshots enjoy a 2-0 lead against Awadhe warriors in the inaugural Indian badminton League (IBL), here on Thursday. Highlights
Touted as the biggest match of the day, the clash between Saina and Sindhu turned out to a one-sided affair as the London Olympics bronze medallist showed why she is considered the badminton queen of India as she beat her junior rival 21-19 21-8 in the second match of the opening rubber.
While Sindhu looked a faint memory of her dominating self which earned her the reputation of being a giant-killer, Saina's game did not reflect the fact that she could not win a single title this year and also failed to win a medal at the World Championship in China.
Sindhu, who beat two Chinese in the run up to her bronze medal-winning feat at the recently concluded World Championship, dominated the proceedings early on as she used her deceptive drops and angled slice to bamboozle Saina.
Sindhu enjoyed a healthy lead in the first two breaks. The young Hyderabadi was leading 7-3 in the first interval and then kept a 14-10 distance in the second break.
But Saina, who was depending more on her baseline down the line smashes till now, changed gears and clawed back with some immaculate body smashes and then marched ahead at 17-15.
Sindhu kept her cool and grabbed two quick points to make it 17-17 but she lost a point at the net to hand over the lead to Saina again.
Egged on by the vociferous crowd, the 23-year-old moved to a two-game point lead and although she lost a game point, she sealed the issue in her favour with a smash.
In the second game, Sindhu could not play her natural game. She looked completely off-colour and struggled with her strokes. She committed many unforced errors as Saina led 7-4 and 14-6 in the first two intervals.
Sindhu could not break Saina's rally game and surrendered rather meekly in the end as the latter shut the doors on her younger colleague with a powerful smash.