Indian ace Saina Nehwal received a huge boost ahead of the Rio Olympics as she clinched her second Australian Open title after defeating China’s Sun Yu in a thrilling three-game final of the Super Series badminton tournament here today.
The 26-year-old from Hyderabad eked out a 11-21 21-14 21-19 over the World No. 12 Sun in a fighting summit clash that lasted an hour and 11 minutes here.
London Olympics bronze medallist, Saina, who had beaten two world champions — Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon (2013) and China’s Yihan Wang (2011) in the quarterfinals and semifinals –, thus clinched her maiden title of the season and pocketed a cheque of USD 56,250.
It is Saina’s second Australian Open victory, having clinched the title in 2014 as well. It ended a rather long title drought for the celebrated Indian, whose previous title before today was at the India Super Series in New Delhi in last year.
Saina had defeated Sun five times in the last five outings but she faced a tough challenge against the 22-year-old Chinese, who took just 18 minutes to wrap up the opening game at the Sydney Olympic Park.