By Ashok Kumar:
Braving blisters in her feet, ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal overcame a defiant Spanish unseeded and world number 11 Carolina Marin 21-18; 21-11 to lift the Star Australian Badminton Open crown and take home prize money of Au $ 56,000.
“I am thankful to my parents for their support throughout,” said Saina after the match. She said that she was not sure whether she will be able to play today or not due to blisters in my both the feet but my Physio Kiran helped me back on my feet to come and play.
Nehwal continued from where she left off in the semi-final win over top seed Wang Shixian (China), her athleticism and attacking abilities wearing Marin down. The Spaniard did sparkle from time to time with her deceptive left-handed shots catching Nehwal off-balance, but overall it was the Indian who dominated from start to finish.
Nehwal’s relentlessness in chasing down Marin’s shots broke the Spaniard’s spirit in the second game. A warning from the umpire and a couple of service faults saw a dip in her focus even as Nehwal grew in confidence. The 21-18 21-11 victory took 43 minutes. This was Indian’s first World Super series title in 20 months, the last being in Denmark, though in 2014 she had won the Indian Super Series title a few days ago in Lucknow.
Marin who incidentally, beat P V Sindhu in the Quarterfinals two days ago was upbeat for the finals but Saina’s relentless smashes were too much for her to handle. But Marin was quick to open her account and take lead 3-1 and Saina was quick to establish early lead and take the first game 21-18 after some unforced errors that gave Marin to close in the gap.
Marin’s last encounter with Saina was in the Quarterfinals of Djarum Indonesian Open which Saina laboured to win 21-16; 21-19 to reach semi-finals.