Saina Nehwal beats PV Sindhu for National Championship title

In what could be described as a pulsating badminton final, Saina Nehwal got the better of PV Sindhu 21-17, 27-25 to win the National Championship.

PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal lock horns in the summit clash of the National Championship at Nagpur.

 

Live updates of the National Championship final between PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal.

The scoreline says it all. It was an excellent display of badminton skills by both the players and it was Saina who held her nerve in the end to emerge victorious at 21-17, 27-25.

Although it was a 2-0 win for Saina Nehwal, her opponent PV Sindhu stretched her to the limits in the second game and it was badminton at its best.

Second game begins

Saina Nehwal leads PV Sindhu by one game to nil after the former World No. 1 displayed a brilliant attacking performance to win the first 21-17.

Saina serves for the first point in the second game.

1-0: Sindhu takes the lead. Sindhu comes up with a venomous smash as Saina could only look at the shuttle dropping on her in a flash.

2-2: It is evens-stevens. Both the players matching each other shot to shot.

3-2: Saina misjudges the flight and leaves the shuttle. Fortunately for Sindhu, it lands just inside.

5-2: Sindhu now in the lead.

6-3: Saina sends one long. Another marginal call and Sindhu gets a point.

The crowd go Sindhuuuuu, Sindhuuuuuu.

6-4: Sindhu holds on to the lead. A cross court backhand by Saina gets her a point.

6-6: What a rally. It ends with Saina sending a neat smash and Sindhu cannot turn around to take the shuttle.

8-6: Sindhu reclaims the lead.

9-7: Sindhu still in the lead. A smash from Saina is long and out.

9-8: Saina gets the point. Saina sends a smash and Sindhu retrives it after a long stretch to her right. Saina retuns a drop shot but Sindhu cannot get the shuttle over the net.

10-8: Sindu takes a two-point buffer. Saina cannot receive a smash neat.

11-8: Three-point lead for Sindhu now. Saina tries a cross court shot but it goes horribly wrong as it is timed wayward.

12-8: Good wrist work by Sindhu. A deceptive shot and it is timed well to Saina's left and she cannot take it.

12-10: Saina reduces the deficit. Sindhu misjudges the shuttle and it lands inside the court.

14-10: Another masterly crafted wristy shot by Sindhu. Drops the shuttle fast and Saina cannot take it clean.

15-11: Good net work by Sindhu. Sends a powerful backhand from a close range and it lands beyond Saina.

15-13: Saina comes up with a good smash. Sindhu stretches to her right but it had enough to beat Sindhu.

16-13: A net shot by Saina has the point and the momentum back to Sindhu.

18-14: Sindhu goes for the line and manages to keep it well within the line.

18-16: Saina crawls back. Takes two points back to back as Sindhu is poor with her timing.

18-18: Saina gets the momentum shift to her side. Plays a delicate drop shot to win the point.

19-18: Saina in the lead for the first time in this game and what a time to get the lead.

19-19: Sindhu draws level.

20-19: Championship point for Saina.

20-20: A good rally and Saina cannot take the shuttle beyond the net. Sindhu draws level.

21-20: Game point for Sindhu, she hits long and Saina cannot take it to her right.

21-21: Saina restores parity.

22-21: Second championship point for Saina. She sends a powerful smash out of Sindhu's reach.

22-22: Sindhu on level terms. What a game this is turning out to be. A classy cross court winner by Sindhu.

23-22: Another long rally. Saina wins it. Sindhu cannot get her forehand over the net and Saina heaves a cry of relief.

Third Championship point for Saina.

23-23: This time it is Saina at the net and Sindhu on level terms.

24-23: Sindhu hits wayward on her side. Fourth Championship point for Saina.

24-24: Another pulsating rally. Aggression at its best. And, Saina cannot time her forehand well. Hits out to Sindhu's left.

25-24: Fifth Championship point for Saina.

25-25: A net shot by Saina gets the players back on level terms.

26-25: Sindhu falters again. A forehand cannot go beyond the net.

27-25: Saina Nehwal is the National Champion. Badminton at its best. What a rally to finish. The takes by both the players were brilliant and it all ended when Saina sent a powerful smash and Sindhu couldn't get the shuttle beyond the net. Saina heaves a cry of relief.

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First game begins

Saina serves first

1-0: Sindhu wins the first point after Saina hits long.

5-3: Saina takes the early lead. Her smashes and finishes are neat. Sindhu drops the shuttle to help Saina with the lead.

6-6: Sindhu draws level. Saina's smash is way out.

8-6: Saina reclaims the lead. Sindhu misses a backhand earlier and follows it up with another miss.

9-7: Sindhu cannot get her drift right as she nets it. Saina leads.

10-7: Saina extends the lead. Sindhu cannot reach to her left to take a smash.

10-8: Sindhu gets back with a neat cross court smash.

10-9: Saina's backhand is long and it gifts Sindhu a point.

11-9: Saina in the lead. The players take a break.

12-9: Sindhu cannot time her smash. The shuttle drops on her side. Saina now with a three-point lead.

No long rallies from either as they rely on attack.

14-9: Saina is now running away with the lead. She opens a five-point cushion. Saina smashes it with venom and Sindhu had no clue.

14-11: Sindhu crawls back. A delicate drop shot and she wins a point.

16-11: Saina leads. She takes a long shot and smashes it well and Sindhu cannot reach to her right and misses to take it clean.

17-12: Saina holds on to the lead. A long rally. Both the players dished out a remarkable attacking performance. And Sindhu cannot get the shuttle over the net in the end.

17-14: Sindhu gets a point. Sindhu changed the angle and sends a neat cross-court winner. It is way beyond Saina's reach, to her right.

17-16: Sindhu now making a comeback. A sharp smash reduces the deficit by one point.

18-17: Saina leads. Sindhu survives a close call. Saina thought the shuttle landed well inside but the umpire thought otherwise. No video referral too to aid the officials and the players.

20-17: Game point for Saina. She leaves a long shot and the shuttle just lands outside. Or that is what the official suggests. Sindhu isn't happy.

21-17: Saina takes the opening game as Sindhu's smash lands way outside.

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The players are warming up with some rallies.

The Indian badminton stalwarts now walk on to the court. We are just minutes away from a pulsating final.

Gopichand and Kidambi Srikanth are felicitated by the Maharashtra Chief Minister.

The national coach Pullela Gopichand is in attendance. He must have been used to watching his wards battle out in many finals. It wouldn't be a tough ask for him not to take sides.

The focus is now on PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, who will take the courts shortly.

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The celebrations say it all. Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy set off on a wild celebration spree with dance moves and hi-fives all around. The pair triumphs 15-21, 22-20, 25-23 to win the National Championship doubles title. This is the third National Championship title for the duo.

What a comeback it has been for Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy. They successfully challenged championship points in the second and third games, fought neck to neck in the last few pointsd and beat Satwik and Chirag 25-23 in the third to be crowned national champions.

It is on to the decider now.

Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy hold their nerve to force the decider. It is even stevens at 1-1 now. After Satwik and Chirag take the first game 21-15, Manu and Sumeeth gave nothing away to win the second game 20-22. Infact, Satwik and Chirag had a championship point at 20-18, but couldn't hold the advantage.

The pair of Satwik and Chirag have the upper hand. They take a 1-0 lead in the final.

We still have almost 30 minutes to go for the Sindhu vs Saina final. Meanwhile, the men's doubles final between Manu Attri/B. Sumeeth Reddy and R. Satwik Sai Raj/Chirag Shetty is on.

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Earlier, HS Prannoy outclassed Kidambi Srikanth to win his first national title. You can read a report on how Pannoy triumphed and what he said after the victory here.

Here is what former India shuttler Prakash Padukone says about the National Championship.

This is how the two top shuttlers made it to the summit clash.

The National Championship Final cannot get bigger. It is PV Sindhu vs Saina Nehwal and watch out for this space for updates.

 

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