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Saina clinches second Australian Open title

SYDNEY:Indian ace Saina Nehwal received a huge boost ahead of the Rio Olympics as she clinched her second Australian Open title after defeating China’s Sun Yu in a thrilling three-game final of the Super Series badminton tournament today.

Saina Nehwal. File photo.

The 26-year-old from Hyderabad eked out a 11-21 21-14 21-19 over the World No. 12 Sun in a fighting summit clash that lasted an hour and 11 minutes here.

London Olympics bronze medallist, Saina, who had beaten two world champions — Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon (2013) and China’s Yihan Wang (2011) in the quarterfinals and semifinals — thus clinched her maiden title of the season and pocketed a cheque of USD 56,250.

It is Saina’s second Australian Open victory, having clinched the title in 2014 as well. It ended a rather long title drought for the celebrated Indian, whose previous title before today was at the India Super Series in New Delhi in last year.