Sunday, on the eleventh and final day of Commonwealth Games 2018, Nehwal became the first Indian to win two singles golds at the Commonwealth Games. Her aggression and intensity quite literally wilted PV Sindhu as she picked up the women’s singles Commonwealth Games gold medal with exhilarating triumph in a hard-fought final.
Saina won all her 12 matches in Gold Coast and stayed unbeaten throughout in the tournament. She led the head-to-head count 3-1 before Sunday's match and won 21-18 23-21 in the high-pressure match that lasted an hour.
The triumph marked a remarkable end to her CWG campaign this edition. She was the pillar of India’s gold-winning campaign in the team championship earlier, playing every one of the singles matches due to Sindhu’s injury.
In a match that started on equal footing, Saina managed to dominate, bringing a rarely seen aggression to the court.
For the full house, mostly packed with the diaspora, it was a brilliant Sunday outing as the top two women of Indian badminton slugged it out, displaying an array of strokes.
Sindhu led 19-16 at one stage but a 64-stroke rally to narrow it to 18-19 brought Saina right back and she equalised at 19-19. However, Sindhu edged ahead for a 20-19 lead and a game point.
The see-saw battle continued when Sindhu hit one out to give Saina the equalising point yet again.
This time, it was Saina who got the championship point when Sindhu struck a return out. The lady, who looked the hungrier of the two all through, was surprisingly late in picking one up as Sindhu made it 21-21.
But Saina was back in lead with a cross-court smash that Sindhu just could not reach. Serving for the gold, Saina forced a wide stroke from Sindhu and then let out a scream to celebrate the triumph.
(With inputs from agencies)