CWG 2018 | Saina Nehwal holds nerve in fourth game to help India win first CWG gold

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CWG 2018 | Saina Nehwal holds nerve in fourth game to help India win first CWG gold

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SportsCafe Desk

04/09/2018

Indian shuttlers put up a splendid performance yet again in the finals of the Commonwealth Games 2018 to secure their first-ever Gold medal at the Games. The victory over Malaysia gave India their 10th Gold medal at the Games and the team has a certain Saina Nehwal to thank for holding her nerves.

After entering the final without breaking a sweat throughout the tournament, the Indian mixed event team faced their first real competition in the summit clash in the form of Malaysia, who was believed to upset the apple cart. 

The match started with the mixed doubles match between India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa and Malaysia’s Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh, in which the Indian pair asserted their dominance from the beginning to take win the game 21-15, but the Malaysian pair provided a strong challenge to the Indian duo’s hegemony in the tournament by levelling the match with a 21-15 win in the second game and forced the game into the decider. However, the duo of Rankireddy and Ponnappa didn’t put their feet off the pedal in the decider to give India a 1-0 lead in the tie.

The win gave India slight edge in the tie, but the following match was supposed to be the biggest of them all as world badminton’s two pin-up star - Lee Chong Wei and Kidambi Srikanth - locked horns. While the world was waiting to see a cracker jack of a contest, Srikanth made it too easy for him and Lee Chong also failed to live up to the billing in the first game which the Indian won 21-17. The second game was expected to be Lee Chong’s comeback trial, but Srikanth nipped his hopes in the bud to win the game 21-14 and helped India take a 2-0 lead in the tie. 

A win in the third match would have sealed the tie for the Indian team, in which the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty squared off with V Shem Goh and Wee Kiong Tan, the Malaysian pair, who hardly had to worry about their opponents in the tournament. The Indian pair seemed too easy for them in the first game as the duo secured a 21-15 win in the first game. Though Rankireddy and Shetty managed to put them in a difficult situation by saving two match points, they eventually went down to the experienced pair 22-20, which made the game wide open for the Malaysians.

But, with Saina Nehwal fighting with Soniia Cheah in the fourth game of the tie, Indian fans started to believe again and the manner in which Nehwal won the first game, had cemented them. But only fools would have signed her off as the World No. 29 came back strongly in the second game to win the game 21-19 and forced the match to the third game. The third game, however, was a hunky dory for the Hyderabad-born shuttler as she secured a 21-9 win to present India its 10th Gold medal at the 2018 Games and their first Gold at the Commonwealth Games as well. 

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