Saina Nehwal becomes first Indian player to claim silver at World Badminton Championship

Saina Nehwal’s quest to become the first Indian world champion in badminton ended in heartbreak as she lost in straight games to title holder Carolina Marin in the summit showdown of the mega-event here today. And Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal on Saturday became the first Indian to reach the final of the World Badminton Championships, assuring herself of at least a silver medal here.

Saina Nehwal's to become the first Indian world champion in badminto2n

The world number two Indian went down 16-21 19-21 to her numero uno nemesis from Spain in a match which lasted 59 minutes. It was the second successive loss in a major final for Saina even though the silver medal she settled for is the best performance by an Indian in the showpiece.

Match Highlights:

It turned out to be a tight match as Saina and Lindaweni, who was playing with a strapping on her right knee, engaged in long rallies and gave each other a tough fight at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

  • Lindaweni opened up a 6-2 lead early on in the first game as Saina tried to get a hang of the drift in the stadium. The Indonesian had to take some tips from the team doctor after feeling some pain in her knee at 7-6.
  • The Indonesian looked restricted in her movement as Saina clawed back at 9-9 and grabbed the lead next when Lindaweni hit wide. A service fault helped Lindaweni to level score at 10-10 but Saina went into the break with a 11-10 lead after winning a long rally.
  • After the interval, Saina increased the gap to 15-12 but the Indian committed a few unforced errors to allow Lindaweni draw parity at 15-15. A net fault and a wide shot by the Indonesian gave Saina a 18-16 lead.
  • Egged on by a vociferous crowd, the home girl kept fighting but a ferocious return took Saina to 19-17 lead. Lindaweni next found the net again as Saina gained three game points and the Indian pocketed it after her rival again hit wide.
  • Lindaweni struggled with her knee but she never gave up and matched Saina for strokes and went into the lead at 4-3. The Indonesian tried to vary the pace and came up with acute angled shots to trouble Saina.
  • Every time Saina took a lead, Lindaweni clawed back and turned the tables. The duo moved neck and neck from 6-6 to 10-10 before Saina moved into the break with a slender 11-10 lead.
  • After the breather, Saina opened up a 14-11 lead. But the Indian again committed a few unforced errors which helped Lindaweni to level par at 14-14. Saina once again surged ahead to 17-14 but Lindaweni showed steels of nerves to narrow it down to 16-17 and 17-18.
  • Saina eventually gained a three-match point advantage when Lindaweni hit long. Another wide shot from Lindaweni and Saina raised her arms in celebration.

It was the second successive loss in a major final for Saina after she lost to the Spaniard in the All England Championships final earlier this year.This is India’s fifth medal at the World Championships following P V Sindhu’s bronze in 2013 and 2014 and Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bronze in women’s doubles at the 2011 edition.Legendary shuttler Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a bronze at the 1983 edition. This is also the first time since 1983 that no Chinese player has won a medal at the World tournament.

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