Sarawak (Malaysia), Jan 22: Saina Nehwal won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold badminton title here on Sunday.
In the finals, the former World Number One beat Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong 22-20, 22-20 in a 46-minute clash. This was her 23rd title overall and the first after undergoing a knee surgery last year.
Saina struggled to win the first game. With Chochuwong just five points away from winning the first game, Saina unleashed an array of cross court smashes to roar back into the game. After leveling for the first time in the game at 19-19, Saina sealed the game.
In the second game too, Chochuwong took an early 3-0 lead before the Indian clawed back into the game by engaging her Thai opponent in long rallies.
After levelling at eight points, Saina tried to consolidate her lead, but Chochuwong kept the pressure up on the Indian. Saina was a point away from winning the second game before Chochuwong won three points in a row to keep the game in balance at 20-20. Saina, however, held her nerves to wrap up the thrilling final in straights games.