All England Championship final: Saina Nehwal vs Carolina Marin - As it happened...
On International Women's Day, Carolina Marin became the first Spanish player to win the Wimbledon of badminton, All England Championship. Heart-break from the Indians as Saina Nehwal failed to live-up to the huge expectations. Marin won in three sets 17-21; 21-15; 21-7. It's her first BWF Superseries title, and many more to come. She is also the reigning World and European champion.
New Delhi: On International Women's Day, Carolina Marin became the first Spanish player to win the Wimbledon of badminton, All England Championship. Heart-break from the Indians as Saina Nehwal failed to live-up to the huge expectations. Marin won in three sets 17-21; 21-15; 21-7 in front of a packed Barclaycard Arena crowd in Birmingham. It's her first BWF Superseries title, and many more to come. She is also the reigning World and European champion.
Third Set (Marin 21 - 7 Nehwal): Marin won the 2015 All England Badminton Championship. She demolished Saina in the third set.
Third Set (Marin 18 - 7 Nehwal): Never too late to open your eyes. The Indian is not watching, or may be have drained all her energy in that first set win.
Third Set (Marin 17 - 5 Nehwal): Every odd-point Saina won, she wasted them with silly mistakes like pushing the shuttle too long or reading the flight of it wrong.
Third Set (Marin 14 - 4 Nehwal): Another silly mistake from Saina. These series of unforced errors are giving a one-way traffic to Marin, who is boisterous to say the least.
Third Set (Marin 13 - 4 Nehwal): Nine-point lead for Marin. Saina has no answer to the Spaniard's fast past game.
Third Set (Marin 11 - 4 Nehwal): Now, the Spaniard is reeling point after point against the Indian. And as expected, the Indian camp has called for a Time-out.
Third Set (Marin 9 - 4 Nehwal): Saina is not moving. Looks like an end to her campaign. She is relying more on the mistakes from her opponent.
Third Set (Marin 5 - 3 Nehwal): After a long rally, which included a Chen Long-style diving retrieve from Marin, Saina won the eighth point of the set with a long play.
Third Set (Marin 5 - 2 Nehwal): Marin has consolidated her lead. Saina's game has deteriorated upto an extent that the Spaniard has seemingly controlled all the rallies.
Third Set (Marin 3 - 1 Nehwal): The Spaniard has taken an early lead, possibly riding on the momentum from the second set.
Third Set (Marin 1 - 1 Nehwal): Saina started with a right call on long play off Marin's serve. But from her serve, the Spaniard won her first point.
Second Set (Marin 21 - 15 Nehwal): Marin ended the set with smash into Saina's body.
Second Set (Marin 20 - 15 Nehwal): Dreadful reading from the Indian. She left another long play, giving the Spaniard a game point.
Second Set (Marin 18 - 15 Nehwal): Against the flow, Saina won a much needed point. But, soon allowed a change-over.
Second Set (Marin 17 - 13 Nehwal): Saina is in all sorts of trouble. First failed to read a raising shot, then made a mess of net play.
Second Set (Marin 15 - 13 Nehwal): Marin is playing some exceptional play, first sending Saina back on the court, then forcing the Indian to cover the court. Won two points on the trot and has gained a two point lead.
Second Set (Marin 12 - 12 Nehwal): Marin lost her first review. And Saina is back on level terms in the second set.
Second Set (Marin 12 - 11 Nehwal): For the first time in the match, Marin is leading, thanks to an unforced error, which went high up before landing off the court on right side.
Second Set (Marin 11 - 11 Nehwal): And soon Saina missed the baseline from a back-hand return. Then, Marin followed it up with a tap into Saina's body. Brave play from the Spaniard.
Second Set (Marin 9 - 11 Nehwal): Time-out. A break call from the Spaniard after Saina won her 11st point after a seemingly long time.
Second Set (Marin 9 - 10 Nehwal): Marin produced a beautifully deceptive drop shot in front of Saina on the left box.
Second Set (Marin 8 - 10 Nehwal): One exhaustive relay from both the players ended with Saina sending the shuttle long. Great fight-back from the 21-year-old leftie.
Second Set (Marin 6 - 9 Nehwal): Saina called for a review and lost the call. Marin's long shot seemed to have missed the baseline on the left side, but on review, it returned with a dot on the line.
Second Set (Marin 5 - 8 Nehwal): Just when the Spaniard looked to pose a challenge, Saina won a couple of points, including a delicate drop shot.
Second Set (Marin 5 - 6 Nehwal): Saina lost couple of short rallies, and Marin is back on the game.
Second Set (Marin 2 - 6 Nehwal): Now, the Indian is racing away with the game like in the first set.
Second Set (Marin 1 - 4 Nehwal): Great court coverage from the Indian. Was forced to play from an uncomfortable left court, but Saina kept her cool, keeping the shuttle in court instead of going for the kill.
Second Set (Marin 1 - 1 Nehwal): Saina started with serve and won the first point, but Marin responded with her counter-attacking game to level the score.
First Set (Marin 17 - 21 Nehwal): Saina won the first set with a brilliant set up, which forced Marin to play wide on the right. The Indian took 16 minutes to wrest the first set.
First Set (Marin 17 - 20 Nehwal): Indecision allowed Marin to win 16th point, against the Game Point. Saina thought it was long, then played it late which crashed into the net.
First Set (Marin 14 - 20 Nehwal): Three quick points for the Spaniard. Won her 14th game after an exchange of nasty hittings from the mid-court.
First Set (Marin 12 - 20 Nehwal): Marin saved a game point with a little nudge on the right box. She is now giving up.
First Set (Marin 11 - 19 Nehwal): A rare error from Saina. Could have easily place on the left line, but missed it by whiskers.
First Set (Marin 10 - 18 Nehwal): Despite all her efforts from the mid-court, Marin has so far failed to challenge the fast-moving Indian.
First Set (Marin 9 - 16 Nehwal): Marin just played an exquisite cross-court drop shot, but Saina responded with a clever tap to break the flow.
First Set (Marin 8 - 15 Nehwal): Another good spell of play from the India, topped with a smash through Carolina's left side.
First Set (Marin 8 - 12 Nehwal): Great set-up by the Indian. After making Marin run for cover, Saina flipped the shuttle from close into the opponent's body.
First Set (Marin 7 - 11 Nehwal): What a smash from the Spaniard, a cross-court dissection which left Saina stranded in her baseline.
First Set (Marin 6 - 11 Nehwal): Carolina is trying to upset the balance with mind-games, as she is famously known for. But the Indian is keeping her cool, playing her usual play. As of now, she is controlling the net play with subtle drops, followed by quick coverage. And the Spaniard has called for a first break, seeking advice from the side-lines.
First Set (Marin 4 - 5 Nehwal): Four quick exchange of points between the finalists and with another long play, which missed Saina's baseline, the Indian got a four point lead.
First Set (Marin 3 - 5 Nehwal): Another long play from the Spaniard allowed Saina to take a 5-3 lead, after Carolina seemed to have pulled the game back to her favour.
First Set (Marin 2 - 4 Nehwal): Soon, from the service Saina raced to a four-two lead with a tight call on the baseline.
First Set (Marin 1 - 1 Nehwal): Saina got her first point with a forced unforced error to her Spaniard opponent.
First Set (Marin 1 - 0 Nehwal): Carolina started the proceeding with the first serve and won thanks to a long return from the Indian on the left tram-line.
Saina Nehwal in her pinkish-red jacket has made first entrance into the court, followed by Carolina Marin, also in her playing suit of same colour. Saina has changed into a black top and black with white stripes skirt.
Saina has won in Indonesia (three times), Singapore, Australia, Denmark, China and Hong Kong of the thirteen Superseries events. A look at her path to the final:
Bellaetrix Manuputty (Indonesia) 21-8; 21-12
Kim Hyo Min (South Korea) 21-15;21-15
5, Wang Yihan (China) 21-19;21-6
Sun Yun (China) 21-13; 21-13
Carolina Marins is yet to win a Superseries title. Here's her path to final:
Chloe Magee (Ireland) 21-14;21-15;21-11
Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Thailand) 21-10;21-16
4, Sung Ji Hyun (South Korea) 21-18;22-20
7, Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) 21-18;21-11
After three finals, the Chinese pair of Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei has beaten the Indonesian to with their All England Mixed Doubles' title in two straight sets 21-10; 21-10. Saina-Carolina match is next.
The Chinese pair has taken the first set 21-10 against the three-time defending champions in a relatively easy fashion. Zhang and Zhao have been the second best pair in the last two editions. Another final defeat for them will give the Indonesian pair fourth successive title in Birmingham.
Mixed Doubles final between top-seeded Chinese pair of Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei and fourth-seeded pair of Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia has already begun.
All England is the first of 13 BWF World Superseries events. It will be followed by India Open (24-29 Mar), Malaysia Open (31 Mar-5 Apr), Malaysia Open (31 Mar-5 Apr), Singapore Open (7-12 Apr), Australian Open (26-31 May), Indonesia Open (2-7 June), Japan Open (8-13 Sept), Korea Open (15-20 Sept), Denmark Open (13-18 Oct), French Open (20-25 Oct),
China Open (10-15 Nov), Hong Kong Open (17-22 Nov) and Dubai World Superseries Finals (9-13 Dec).
Preview: This is only the second time in a decade to witness two players other Chinese to play in the women's singles final. In 2013 Tine Baun of Denmark beat Thai Ratchanok Inthanon in the final. In that edition, Inthanon defeated Saina in the semis.
Xie Xingfang (2005, 2006, 2007), Wang Yihan (2009), Wang Shixian (2011, 2014), Li Xuerui (2012) have made All England a happy hunting ground for burgeoning Chinese badminton players. For a change. Dane Tine Rasmussen beat China's Lu Lan in the 2010 submit clash.
So, for both the players, it is golden opportunity to place their respective nations in the winners' map. The Indian ace has a three-nil head-to-head record against her Spaniard opponent.
On Saturday, Saina defeated Sun Yu of China in straight sets to become the first Indian women to qualify for the prestigious tournament.
Indian legend Prakash Padukone, in 1980 and Saina's former mentor Pullela Gopichand, in 2001 are the only Indian so far to win the singles titles in Birmingham.
Saina best result in this BWF Superseries Premier event have been two semi-final appearances in 2010 and 2013. In her previous eight appearances, starting 2007, she also made three other quarter-finals.
In the second semi-final yesterday, the reigning world champion got the better of Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei 21-18, 21-11 to set her first final appearance in this prestigious tournament.
Known as one of the best readers of the game, the 21-year-old, to her credit, has put Spain in the world badminton map. She is only the third European to become the world champion, after after Lene Køppen (1977) and Camilla Martin (1999).
However, it will be a tough task for the sixth seeded player to beat Saina, considering their previous head-to-head record.