Dominating Saina clinches Australian Open
Sydney: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal produced a dominating performance to lift her second title of the season, winning the USD 750,000 Star Australian Super Series after beating Spain’s Carolina Marin in the summit clash here today.
The sixth seeded Indian, who had won the India Open Super Series earlier this year, prevailed 21-18 21-11 in a 43-minute contest which left her richer by USD 56,000.
The 24-year-old Saina, who enjoyed a 1-0 head-to-head record against Marin going into today’s match, logged the first point and displayed some deft net play against her rival, stroking in some delectably timed volleys to take a 5-2 lead in the opening game.
But the 21-year-old Marin was not the one to give up easily and showed just why she is considered one of the most feisty players on the circuit. She narrowed the gap to 6-8 but seemed distinctly out of her comfort zone every time Saina dragged her towards the net.
Also, Marin didn’t help her cause by committing a service error to gift an easy point to Saina, who went into the interval leading 11-7 after an intriguing rally which ended with the Spaniard smashing the shuttle wide.
Marin raised her game and the decibel levels after the break but Saina was quick to counter-attack and returned her rival’s attempted smashes with quiet intensity.
In between,Marin played some fine strokes but they never came consistently enough as Saina made it 17-12. Marin’s dogged determination was there to be seen in every point she played for but that alone was never going to be enough to upstage a composed Saina.
The Indian, who didn’t seem affected at all by Marin’s aggressive outpouring of emotions after every claimed point, sealed the opening game 21-18 after her world number 11 rival smashed one into the net 23 minutes into the match.