Carolina Marin affirmed her supreme status on world badminton firmament with a controlled performance against no.2 seed Saina Nehwal of India. In a 59-minute final at the iconic Istora Senayan indoor stadium at Jakarta, Marin defeated the Indian in two games. After easily winning the first game, the Spaniard brushed aside a three-point lead taken by Saina in the second game and came up with an authoritative victory and retained her title won in Copenhagen last year. Saina fought but she made too many unforced errors. Marin kept coming up with points at crucial moments and that made a decisive difference. Before the start of their final, Saina had a 3-1 head-to-head record against Marin and therefore on paper, she held an edge over Marin. But the gritty left-hander was oozing with confidence after beating Saina in the All England final in March 2015. On more than one occasion during the match, Marin was warned by the chair umpire for clenching her right fist and letting out loud screams, every time she won a point. She was also cautioned once for abusing her racquet.
The 2015 season has been extremely fruitful for Carolina Marin as she clinched victories in three World Super-series tournaments. Moreover, she has been constantly improving her world rankings and from no.9 last year, the Spaniard has jumped to the no.1 spot in BWF rankings. There was no surprise, therefore that the defending world champion would show her true game skills in the final with Saina Nehwal on Sunday. In the first game, Saina opened an early 3-1 lead that became 6-4 a little while later. But the Spaniard fought back to draw level at 7-7. Marin won the next four points on trot to lead 11-7 at the breather. When they came back, Marin kept up the pressure and had a six point lead at 16-10. The margin of lead continued and Marin had the game point at 20-14. The Spaniard allowed Saina just two more points and wrapped up the game 21-16.
In the second game, both players raised their level and as Saina led 9-5, she looked like making a comeback. But once again, Marin clawed back superbly and Sania’s lead was reduced to just one point at 12-11. The Spaniard won her sixth straight point to make the score 12-12. Both players clung in the game and at one stage, the score read 17-16 in favor of Saina. Here onwards, Marin played superbly and reached her first championship point at 20-18. Saina was in trouble but she managed to make it 20-19 and Marin still had one championship point. She was not to err further as she clinched the match with a 21-16, 21-19 victory. The Spaniard collapsed on the floor in sheer joy and relief before getting up and shaking hands with Saina.
Although, Saina Nehwal‘s quest to emerge as the first ever Indian world badminton champion ended with a heartbreaking defeat, she can still seek solace from the fact that she became first Indian of either sex to reach a World Championship final.
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