The much hyped Indian Badminton League encounter between Hyderabad Hotshot’s Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu of Awadhe Warriors at the Siri Fort Complex yesterday saw experience prevail over youth.
Saina the seasoned senior got the better of teenager Sindhu 21-19, 21-8. World No 4 Saina however began tentatively and looked to be under pressure in the initial stages of Game One.
Sindhu took a 7-3 lead and then led 14-10 during the break. However, once Saina equalised at 15-15, there was no looking back for the London Olympics bronze medallist.
Thereafter, Saina seemed to have got the measure of the World Championships’ bronze winner and though the first game went down to the wire, Saina prevailed 21-19.
In the second game, Saina dominated from the very beginning and gained confidence with every point. With the score reading 10-4 in her favour at one stage, it was clear that she was going to win the second game without much problem.
Saina’s tactics against Sindhu seemed to be to take the attack to her opponent rather than let her take advantage of her height and get the upper hand.
Later however, Saina admitted that she was surprised by her opponent’s aggression earlier on. But once she began counter-attacking she realised that she could push Sindhu on the defensive and things began going her way.
The 23-year-old senior predicted a fantastic future for the 18-year-old Sindhu and was all praise for her talent and confidence at the highest level.
Finally, Saina also admitted that with this win the pressure is now off her and she can play with a lot more confidence both in India as well as abroad.
The writer is a former India player.