All England Badminton tourney: Saina takes 3-0 head to head lead against Marin to title clash
London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal clashes with reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain for the prestigious All England Badminton Championship on Sunday evening.other Updated: Mar 08, 2015 16:17 IST
London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal clashes with reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain for the prestigious All England Badminton Championship on Sunday evening.
World number 3 Saina has a 3-0 record against the 6th ranked Spaniard.
The Indian badminton superstar is just a step away from joining legends Prakash Padukone and P Gopichand. Padukone won the title in 1980 and Gopichand in 2001.
On Saturday, Saina became the first Indian woman to reach the All England finals, with a straight-game victory over Sun Yu. She outplayed Sun 21-13 21-13 in 50 minutes at the Barclaycard Arena.
The girl from Hyderabad, who will turn 25 in 10 days, had reached the semi-finals of the event in 2010 and 2013.
After disposing her nemesis Yihan Wang of China, Saina was faced with the task of taming the towering Sun, ranked World No. 18, who had seen off the likes of Nichaon Jindapon, Li Xuerui and Ratnachok Intanon over the last three days.
The Indian had come into the match with a 1-1 record against Sun, who had defeated her during the 2013 China Open.
Saina, who had beaten Sun at the Australian Open in June last year, lagged 0-2 behind early on as Sun showed her intent to move to 4-1.
A couple of quick points and Sun led 6-1, but Saina soon drew her rival in long drawn battle of rallies, as she scripted her recovery to move to 8-10 before the Chinese surged ahead into the break with a slender 11-10 lead.
After the interval, Saina changed her tactics and was soon rewarded with a couple points as she stretched her lead to 16-12.
The Indian soon made it 19-13. An unforced error from Sun gave Saina the advantage of seven game points and the Hyderabadi sealed it when the Chinese hit the shuttle hard and long.
In the second game, Sun once again opened up a narrow 3-2 lead but Saina kept drawing her to the net, where she looked comfortable.
Marin defeated Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying 21-18 21-11 in the semi-final.