Jakarta: Carolina Marin produced a brilliant display to defend her world badminton title on Sunday with a smooth progress to a 21-16 21-19 win over Saina Nehwal.
The Spaniard was brimming with confidence in the first game, pumping her fist and screaming in triumph.
But the Indian shuttler was not intimidated, retaliating early in the second game to take an 11-8 lead before Marin responded with seven unanswered points to put Nehwal back on the defensive.
The pair were neck-and-neck at 18-18 but the European champion proved too strong for Nehwal, the first Indian to reach a world championship final.
The Spaniard burst into tears and collapsed on the court as Nehwal’s final shot sailed out, delivering Marin the title she was not sure she would ever defend.
She nearly missed the world championships entirely after suffering a foot injury just a month ago, and had refused to speculate about her chances of retaining her crown. “This time was more difficult than the first time,” she said.
Badminton’s governing body later apologised to Marin for an “unfortunate mistake” that saw the wrong national anthem played as the Spaniard took to the winner’s podium.
China maintained its stranglehold over the women’s doubles with defending champions Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing defeating Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark 23-25, 21-8, 21-15.
Zhao made history earlier in the day with compatriot Zhang Nan, becoming the first pair ever to win three gold medals in the mixed doubles with a routine victory over Chinese teammates Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin 21-17, 21-11.