Despite her recent slump, Saina is still India`s best female shuttler

By Jayanta Oinam | Updated: Jan 27, 2014, 00:40 AM IST

New Delhi: Despite the hue and cry over her title drought, Saina Nehwal is still India`s top female shuttler. The Olympic bronze medallist took only 40 minutes to dispatch compatriot and understudy, PV Sindhu to win the 2014 Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow. The score read: 21-14 21-17.

The women`s final at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium was touted as the battle of superiority between India`s two top players. During the course of the tournament, Saina saw her world ranking dropped a place, at 9th while the Sindhu retained her 11th spot.

Despite Saina`s slump in the form last year, her final opponent Sindhu managed to win Malaysia Open Grand Prix and Macau Open Badminton Championships in 2013. Sindhu also returned with bronze medal from the 2013 BWF World Championships, held in Guangzhou, China.

And in the run-up to the Lucknow final, many have doubted Saina`s chance against the rising star. Whereas, Saina struggled with indifferent form and injury issues, subsequently leading to the drop in her international ranking.

However, when the two Andhra girls took the court, the experience and guile of the senior pro proved decisive. With her second Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold title, Saina finally broke the 15-month-long title slump. The tournament win also carries another 7000 points, which will surely help improve her international ranking.

For the youngster Sindhu, it was her first final in Lucknow. And in their previous two occasions, during the inaugural Indian Badminton League, she lost to Saina. But during her straight sets defeat, she showed glimpses of brilliance.