'Simple errors' from PV Sindhu helped me win Nationals crown: Saina Nehwal

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Saina Nehwal beat PV Sindhu in straight games in the final to retain her women's singles crown at the 83rd Senior Badminton Nationals in Guwahati on Saturday.

Saina, who had won the title in 2006, 2007 and 2018, used her powerful smashes to register a 21-18 21-15 win against two-time champion Sindhu.

"It was a good match and both of us played really well and it is a great feeling to win the nationals in such an atmosphere," said Saina, who has lost to Sindhu only once in international events (India Open 2017).

"Sindhu is playing at the highest level for quite some time and she is a very tough opponent. It was not a simple match, there were tough rallies and simple errors from her helped me to win."

Saina, who had beaten Sindhu in the Commonwealth Games final last year, had also beaten her at last year's Nationals final in Nagpur.

While Saina used her trademark smashes to create openings, Sindhu lacked precision, hit too many mid-court returns, and misjudged the shuttle at the back to concede points on multiple occasions.

Saina's unforced errors initially cost her three points but she found her way to make it 11-10 at the changeover. She continued to dictate the pace, while Sindhu hit wide or hit the net to allow her opponent to stretch the lead.

With Saina leading 18-15, the match was stopped due to an issue with the lighting. On resumption, Sindhu played a smash and drop to reduce the deficit but Saina earned three game points with powerful smashes and sealed it with another after Sindhu saved one.

At 3-3 in the second game, Saina hit the net twice but soon clawed back to lead 11-9 at the break. Errors continued to creep in Sindhu's game as Saina saw it through comfortably in the end.

Sourabh completes hat-trick of crowns

Earlier, Sourabh Verma completed a hat-trick of titles, claiming the men's singles crown by defeating young Lakshya Sen in straight games.

It was the 26-year-old's second win against 17-year-old Lakshya at the senior Nationals -- he had beaten Lakshya, then 15, in February 2017.

"Winning the nationals for the first time (in 2011) is always special but this time also it was a great feeling. Lakshya is improving regularly and every time you have to be alert against him. It was my fourth final (lost in Patna Nationals) and third win," Sourabh said.

"At 6-6 in first game, I had done unforced errors so I thought if I reduce my mistakes I can make a comeback."

Earlier, few unforced errors by Sourabh allowed Lakshya to move to 11-6 lead. But the experienced Sourabh narrowed down the lead to 11-12 and then went to the lead at 16-15.

In the second game, Sourabh zoomed to a 3-0 lead early and though Lakhsya drew level at 4-4, the former champion managed to eke out a 11-7 lead at the interval.

The teenager couldn't stop his errors from cropping in his game as Sourabh grabbed match point at 20-11 with a body smash. Lakshya saved two match points before conceding the title on the third.

New pair Chirag/Pranaav takes doubles title

In the men's doubles final, second seeded makeshift pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty beat top seeds Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran 21-13 22-20 in 33 minutes.

Chirag and Pranaav came together after the former's regular partner Satwik Rankireddy was sidelined ahead of the tournament due to an injury. Satwik and Chirag had finished runners-up at the last edition.

Manu Attri and Maneesha K later beat top seeds Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg 18-21, 21-17, 21-16 to claim the mixed doubles crown.