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Saina Nehwal vs PV Sindhu blockbuster final at badminton nationals

Saina Nehwal defeated fifth seed Anura Prabhudesai 21-11, 21 -10, while top seed PV Sindhu was stretched by Ruthvika Shivani before prevailing 17-21, 21-15, 21-11 in the semifinals of the Senior Badminton National Championships in Nagpur

other sports Updated: Nov 07, 2017 20:21 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Nagpur
Saina Nehwal,PV Sindhu,Indian Badminton
It’s been a while since PV Sindhu or Saina Nehwal (right) have played the badminton national championships, and they have never faced each other at the nationals. Saina won the 2006 and 2007 editions while Sindhu was champion in 2011 and ’13.(HT Photo)

Olympic medallists Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu will battle for supremacy in the women’s singles final of the Senior Badminton National Championship after scoring contrasting victories in Nagpur on Tuesday.

Saina, who is currently ranked World No. 11, hardly broke a sweat as she defeated fifth seed Anura Prabhudesai 21-11, 21 -10, while World No 2 and top seed Sindhu was surprisingly stretched by Ruthvika Shivani before prevailing 17-21, 21-15, 21-11 in the semifinals.

In the men’s singles, it will be a clash between World No 2 Kidambi Srikanth and giant-killer H S Prannoy in a repeat of their semifinal battle at the French Open Super Series a little over a week ago.

The possibility of a Saina versus Sindhu clash was high after the star shuttlers confirmed their participation in the tournament.

Saina hasn’t competed at the Senior Nationals since winning back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, while Sindhu too gave the domestic tournament a miss after winning the 2011 and 2013 editions.

The two, who are employees of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), have met twice in international competitions. Their first meeting was at the 2014 Syed Modi International before they played each other in India Super Series this year.

While Saina prevailed in 2014, Sindhu had the last laugh in Delhi.

A lot has happened between those two battles with Saina becoming the World No 1 in 2015, while Sindhu rising to the pinnacle of world badminton after clinching silver at the Rio Olympics.

Saina, who won bronze at the London Games, had suffered a career-threatening knee injury to crash out early from the Rio Games and spent the last year recovering and scripting her way back to the top.

Sindhu, meanwhile, scaled new heights in international badminton after winning the 2016 China Open, India Open and Korea Open this year, besides winning the silver at the Glasgow World Championships.

Saina, 27, who had won the silver in 2015 World Championship, bagged a bronze at the Glasgow edition to show that she is also getting back to her best.

Meanwhile, the mixed doubles combo of Satwik Sai Raj R and Ashwini Ponnappa will face top-seeds Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy N after they emerged winners following the retirement of their semifinal opponents Sanyam Shukla and Sanyogita Ghorpade midway in the first game.

Pranaav and Sikki, however, had to dig deep to stave off a spirited challenge from Alwin Francis and Aparna Balan 21-16 22-24 21-8 in a match that lasted a little over an hour.

Top seeded women’s doubles pair of Sikki Reddy N and Ashwini Ponnappa will meet Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant in the final.

The top seeded combo defeated Aparna Balan and Sruthi K P 21-10 21-14, while Sanyogita and Prajakta outlasted Rutaparna Panda and Mithula U K 18-21 21-12 21-16 in another semifinal.

First Published: Nov 07, 2017 20:20 IST