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Saina Nehwal: I didn't play my best in the final

Indian shuttler admits she made too many mistakes in the final to lose 16-21, 19-21 to Carolina Marin

Jakarta: Indian ace Saina Nehwal yesterday said she lacked patience and committed to many errors, which dashed her dreams of winning the gold medal at the prestigious Badminton World Championships here.

India’s Saina Nehwal poses with her silver medal at the BWF World Badminton Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia yesterday.
India’s Saina Nehwal poses with her silver medal at the BWF World Badminton Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia yesterday.

World No 2 Saina settled for the silver after going down 16-21, 19-21 to her nemesis from Spain, Carolina Marin.

“Today I didn’t play my best, I could have done better. Too many mistakes in first game. In the second, I had a lead, but points went by very quickly and within no time she was level,” Saina said after losing to the All England champion in the title clash.

Saina Nehwal returns to Carolina Marin during their women’s singles final in Jakarta’s Istora Stadium yesterday. PIC:AP/PTI
Saina Nehwal returns to Carolina Marin during their women’s singles final in Jakarta’s Istora Stadium yesterday. PIC:AP/PTI

“I could’ve been more patient then during those 4-5 points. I had no problems with fitness. Final is more mental than physical. I made one silly error in the second game during a crucial moment.

“In the second game, I was on the slower side. I was trying to make rallies happen but the points went very quickly,” she added.

Saina felt the experience of playing in the final helped defending champion Marin as she could play more freely.

“When you have experience of playing a World Cup final, it’s easier. She was more free and not thinking of winning or losing,” she said.

Marin said, “I feel more happy this time compared to last time. This was more difficult. I had a foot injury last month, I thought I couldn’t play. I started playing two weeks ago, just wanted to enjoy the tournament.

“I just didn’t want to make mistakes when I was down in the second game. She was more tired than me. I just kept thinking of each point. I just wanted to enjoy the final and the crowd,” she said.

‘Home’ advantage
Marin also thanked the supporters for rooting for her. “Today I felt I was playing at home. Thanks to Indonesia for supporting me,” she said.

With a 3-1 head-to-head record over the Spaniard going into the match, Saina had the edge on paper.

But the gritty Spaniard, who got the better of Saina in the All England finals in their most recent encounter, seemed more pumped up when the proceedings started.

Clenching her fists and letting out a scream at almost every point won by her, Carolina caught the chair Marin attention more than once for her antics and was even cautioned for abusing her racquet.

However, the World No 1 made sure that the scorecard ticked in her favour after breaking away from 7-7 when Saina sunk an easy return into the net. Placed comfortably at 11-8 when the lemon break was taken, Marin made it 15-9 in no time courtesy errors by Saina and some precisely-placed shots from the baseline.

Energy and pace
The beleaguered Indian found it tough to deal with her rival’s energy and floundered when challenged on pace.

In the second game, however, the Indian came back strongly to start with, inducing regular errors from the aggressive Spaniard. The Indian led 11-6 at the break, riding on a much improved performance in baseline rallies.

But refusing to be bogged down, Marin, who was far more adventurous than the Indian when it came to approaching the net, recovered with six back-to-points to make it 12-12. This went on till 17-17, before Marin strode to her second successive world title.

Sports stars salute saina on twitter

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