Saina smashes Carolina retains Syed Modi GP title

Lucknow: Ace shuttler and top seed Saina Nehwal staged a scintillating comeback to beat reigning world champion Carolina Marin and retain the women’s singles title at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament in Lucknow on Sunday.

World No. 3 Saina scraped past the seventh-ranked Spaniard 19-21, 25-23, 21-16 in a see-saw battle lasting an hour and 19 minutes.

With the gruelling win, Saina maintained her 100% win against Carolina in three career meetings.

Saina showed steely resolve after losing the first game from a 16-12 cushion. The match could have been easier for the Hyderabadi had she not allowed Carolina to come back after gaining a healthy lead on more than one occasion.

Saina was surging ahead in the second game as well with a 10-6 lead before the 21-year-old Spaniard fought back to go 15-12 up.

It was a neck and neck battle from thereon with Saina saving a couple of match points. She eventually managed to level the match on her third game point.

The Hyderabadi did not repeat the mistakes of the first two games in the deciding third game, taking a 9-4 lead before wrapping up the match on her third match point.

In the semis on Saturday, Saina took 40 minutes to register a comprehensive 21-10, 21-16 victory over fourth seed Nichaon Jindapon from Thailand.

This is Saina’s first title of 2015. The Hyderabadi defeated compatriot P V Sindhu to win the same title last year.

Saina recently climbed a spot to number three in the badminton rankings and is behind Chinese duo of Li Xuerui and Shixian Wang.

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