Saina Nehwal defeated PV Sindhu 21-18, 23-21 to win the gold in a thrilling badminton women’s singles final. 22-year-old Sindhu took home the silver. The 28-year-old also became the first Indian badminton star to win two Commonwealth Games gold medals. Both Saina and Sindhu had reached the finals in rather contrasting fashions. It took 68 minutes for the match to finally finish 21-14, 18-21, 21-17 in Saina’s favour.
The 22-year-old Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, who had missed the mixed team competition due to an ankle sprain, knocked out defending champion Michelle Li 21-18 21-8 in just 26 minutes while former World No. 1 Saina had to dig deep to struggle past 2014 silver medallist Kristy Gilmour 21-14 18-21 21-17 in 68 minutes.
2010 Delhi Games champion Saina and 2014 bronze medallist Sindhu had clashed at the Senior National championship finals last November with the former having the last laugh after a gruelling match.
Saina and Sindhu faced each other twice in the domestic league. While Saina, playing for Hyderabad Hotshots then, had defeated Sindhu (Awadhe Warriors) in the 2013 Indian Badminton League, Sindhu beat Saina in the PBL 2 semi-final in January, 2017.
Srikanth too enters final at CWG:
Newly-crowned World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth also progressed to the final of the men’s singles after defeating 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph of England 21-10 21-17 in little over half an hour.
However, three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei prevented an all-Indian men’s singles clash by getting the better of H S Prannoy 21-16 9-21 21-14 in the other semifinal.
Prannoy later lost to Ouseph 21-17 23-25 9-21 in the bronze medal match that last 65 minutes. The Indian won the first game but could not kill the match in the second. Ouseph won the second game in a long-drawn deuce game. Prannoy did not give much fight in the third game which he lost 9-21 to miss the bronze.
Earlier, young Indian pair of Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also stood one step away from a historic gold medal as they reached the finals of the men’s doubles event with a 21-18 21-10 win over Sri Lanka’s Sachin Dias and Buwaneka Goonethilleka.
Women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, meanwhile, won a bronze medal after beating local hopes Setyana Mapasa and Gronya Somerville 21-19 21-19 later in the day.
Earlier, the duo had lost 21-17 15-21 4-21 to Malaysian combo of Mei Kuan Chow and Vivian Hoo in women’s doubles semifinals.
Assured of at least a silver, Satwik and Chirag will be the first Indian pair to win a men’s doubles medal at the Commonwealth Games.
“We started off pretty badly like till 17 we were down and in the end we played a bit more steady and smarter to take the game. The second game we started off confidently right from first point and that’s what helped us,” Chirag told PTI.