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  • ଓଡ଼ିଆରେ ପଢନ୍ତୁ

Lucknow: India ace shuttler Saina Nehwal on Sunday snapped her 15 months title drought, clinching the Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold badminton crown with a straight-game victory over compatriot P V Sindhu in the women's singles competition, here today.

The London Olympics bronze medallist staved off the challenge from Sindhu 21-14 21-17 in the women's singles summit clash, which lasted 40 minutes at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium here.

The two-time champion was tested by her younger colleague but Saina kept her nerve to eventually break a 15-month title drought after appearing in her 22nd final of her international career.

"It's an emotional moment for me. Loved the support I got. Lucknow has been my favourite city, I won my first title here in 2009. It feels good to win again. The win was more special as it came after such a long time," she said moments after her victory.

"Sindhu played very well. It was a great match and the crowd enjoyed it. She is great player, and also in top-10. I am happy that I pulled it off.

"I was little nervous as I was playing in a final after a long time. But things went well for me," said Saina, who had last reached a final in the French Super Series in October, 2012.

Luck was on Saina's side as a couple of controversial line calls helped the 23-year-old to lead 3-0 initially and then she extended it to 5-0.

Sindhu earned her first point when Saina hit wide but the Commonwealth Games champion kept the pressure on her with some smashes to lead 8-2.

Sindhu slowly started retrieving the shuttles and engaged in rallies to narrow down the lead to 5-8 but she was erratic at finishing the points and lagged 5-11 at the break.

After the breather, Sindhu scored with the help of her accurate over the head smashes and smart net play to narrow it to 11-14. But she once again faltered with the length of her returns to allow Saina lead 19-13.

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