Saina, Kashyap win Syed Modi titles

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Lucknow: Ace Indians Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap displayed brilliant performances to clinch the women’s and men’s singles titles, respectively, at the $120,000 Syed Modi International Badminton Championships here today.

World No.3 Saina came out with a stupendous show first to save two matchpoints and, then to defeat reigning World Champion Carolina Marin of Spain to retain the crown she won last year at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium.

The top seeded defending champion outplayed the Spanish World No.7 to win the one-hour and 19-minute marathon final 19-21, 25-23, 21-16 and clinch the Grand Prix Gold crown. With the victory, Saina completed a hat-trick of wins against the second seeded Carolina in as many meetings between them. Also, this is Saina’s first title of 2015.

Later in the day, 2012 edition winner Kashyap beat compatriot and World No.5 Kidambi Srikanth in two evenly contested games to come out on top 23-21, 23-21 in 52 minutes. Though the duo have played several matches in the past, this was their first meeting in an official Badminton World Federation (BWF) match.

Both the Pullela Gopichand proteges know each other’s game pretty well and it was a mental contest of which player had stronger nerves. Eventually, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion came out on top over the reigning national champion.

In the women’s singles final, Saina did not start the match on a positive note as Carolina raced away to a 5-2 lead. However, the Hyderabadi came back strongly to win a number of points in the next few minutes to take a vital 15-7 advantage.

Just when it was looking that the Olympic bronze medallist will seal the game, Carolina showed her class to close the gap at 17-all. The Spaniard carried the momentum with some deceptive shots and went on to bag the first game 19-21.

The second game was a neck-and-neck affair from the word go and from 15-all, both the shuttlers raised their games, not allowing the other the difference of more than a point.

It was here when the 24-year-old Indian crucially saved two matchpoints. Carolina reverted by saving Saina’s two gamepoints but on the third it was the Indian who got the better of the second seed by winning her third gamepoint and pushing the match into the decider.

The loss of the second game totally shifted the momentum in favour of Saina, who seized the initiative and dominated the third game to build a 15-7 lead. Though the reigning European Champion tried fighting back, it was too much to ask from the 21-year-old as Saina closed out the encounter on her third matchpoint.

In the mixed doubles final, Indonesian top seeds Riky Widianto and Puspita Richi Dili hardly broke a sweat to defeat Indian pair Manu Attri and K. Maneesha 21-17, 21-17 in 34 minutes.

Final results (in order of play):

Women’s doubles: 4-Amelia Alicia Anscelly/Fie Cho Soong (Malaysia) beat 1-Vivian Kah Mun Hoo/Khe Wei Woon (Malaysia) 22-20, 21-15

Women’s singles: 1-Saina Nehwal (India) beat 2-Carolina Marin (Spain) 19-21, 25-23, 21-16

Men’s doubles: 1-Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark) beat 4-Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov (Russia) 21-9, 22-20

Men’s singles: 3-Parupalli Kashyap (India) beat 1-Kidambi Srikanth (India) 23-21, 23-21

Mixed doubles: 1-Riky Widianto/Puspita Richi Dili (Indonesia) beat Manu Attri/K. Maneesha (India) 21-17, 21-17

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