Kolkata: One is an Olympic silver medal winner in Rio in 2016, while the other won the bronze in the London Olympics in 2012. Both hail from Hyderabad and what a match it is going to be as shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal lock horns in the quarter-finals of the ongoing India Open Super Series in New Delhi. Well, for both it is a prestige issue. Saina plagued by injury is on a comeback trail, while Sindhu would be looking to doing justice to the attention she has been enjoying post the Rio Olympics.
The draw of the Indian Open had suggested that the two Hyderabadi shuttlers may have a face-off and it has turned out to be true. On Thursday, Saina got the better of Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong and Sindhu edged past Japanese Saena Kawakami in a close finish to set up a clash with Saina.
Now, with due respect to Olympic champion Carolina Marin from Spain, the Saina-Sindhu match will be the contest to look forward to. Both the Hyderabadis would like to keep the disappointing show in the All England Open Badminton Championships behind and look ahead. Saina who lost to Sindhu in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) this year, will be keen on taking revenge to prove that despite Sindhu stealing the march over her after the Rio Olympics, she still is a force to reckon with.
For somebody who put Indian badminton on the world map once again, Saina of late is keeping a low profile letting her racquet do the talking. She has not been on an overdrive post the knee surgery and has been choosy when it comes to picking up tournaments. The World Number 8 won the Malaysia Masters this year.
Sindhu, ranked fifth, on the other hand won the China Open last year after winning the silver medal in the Rio Olympics. Though she came up trumps in the Syed Modi Grand Prix, she failed to impress in the All England this year.
Nevertheless, the clash of the Hyderabadis will hog the limelight and the one who holds her nerves till the end will have the last laugh. The last time the two met at the international level it was Saina who marched past over Sindhu in the Syed Modi Grand Prix final in 2014. Who will be the winner this time? Fingers crossed!
(With inputs from The Times of India)