Sometimes you get the chance of writing your name in the history book in golden letters. When one gets this opportunity, he should make its optimal utilization and show case his talent for the future generations to see and get inspired. This is exactly what our shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth did at the Indian Open Super Super Series Badminton Tournament.
Saina, the bronze medalist at the London Olympics becomes the first women shuttler from India to clinch the top position in Women Badminton Ranking. She won her maiden India Open title after convincingly beating former world champion Rachanok Intanon from Thailand. She dominated the match and won it straight sets 21-16, 21-14. Whereas World No. 4 Srikanth had to give in his all to beat his opponent Viktor Axelsen of Denmark. Srikanth captured his second title on the trot after a grueling match that ended in his favour by 18-21, 21-13, 21-12.History was created at the SIri Fort Sports Complex.
Saina had a lead of 5-3 in overall head to head comparison with her opponent Inaanon and so the former was well ready for the latter’s deceptive game plans. Saina played to her strengths i.e., better movements than her rival and influential and precise smashes to win her second title of the season.
It was a well deserved victory for the Hyderbadi girl whose fantastic form continued since winning the China Open. She anticipated her opponent’s moves and countered them well.
It was very clear that third seeded Inanton had not recovered fully from the energy-sapping encounter against the then world number one Carolina Marin of Spain on Saturday.
The local girl was getting the full crowd support by chants like ‘India India’ and ‘let’s go Saina let’s go’ which was clearly affecting Inanton’s focus as she was making many unforced errors. This helped Saina to take an early 11-5 lead. After the break Inantons’s showed glimpses of her superb deceptive game as she narrowed the gap to 10-12.
Saina played effortlessly to win the title. She won the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow in January, and then she became the first Indian women to reach the final of All England Championships. She added another feather to her hat by winning the Indian Open Series and becoming world No. 1.
Later on, Srikanth gave the home fans something more to cheer about after he defeated Axelsen in a hard fought three-game win, who had earlier defeated homeboy H S Prannoy in Quarter Finals.
Axelsen, the bronze medal winner at the 2012 and 2014 European Champions made the second seeded Srikanth to fight with every bit of his energy. The Dane’s plan was almost perfect as he entered the break with an 11-9 advantage. While Srikanth had some other plans as he caught up with Axelsen at 12-12 after the break and snatched nine straight points to seal the victory.
Srikanth’s dream run continues as he won the China Open Super Series Premier last November. Then he made it to te semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open, World Super Series Finals and made it to the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold finale before coming out victorious of the Swiss Open.
As a token of appreciation, Akhilesh Das Gupta the President of Badminton Association of India declared Rs. 10 lakh for Saina for becoming world number one and Rs. 5 lakh for Srikanth for winning the Men’s Singles.