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Malvika Bansod beats 'idol' Saina Nehwal in straight sets, 2nd Indian to defeat her since 2007

20-year-old Malvika Bansod saw off Saina Nehwal in straight sets at the India Open. PV Sindhu is the only other Indian to have defeated Nehwal since 2007.

Saina Nehwal was defeated by Malvika Bansod at the India Open 2022

Saina Nehwal was defeated by Malvika Bansod at the India Open 2022 (Source: BAI)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 13 Jan 2022 9:14 AM GMT

Displaying a stunning form and a lot of spunk, youngster Malvika Bansod was ruthless against aging badminton queen Saina Nehwal in the second round of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022. Needing only 34 minutes to make her case, the Nagpur player matched Saina shot for shot and played strategically to defeat the 2-time India Open champion, 21-17, 21-9.

In doing this, Malvika Bansod became the second Indian badminton player after PV Sindhu, who has managed to defeat Saina Nehwal on the court since 2007 in the domestic and international badminton circuit. This was Bansod's first meeting against her 'idol' and playing against Nehwal is a 'dream come true' for the youngster.

Nehwal, the fourth seed at the 2022 edition of the tournament, had gone down to Sindhu in 2017 at the India Open itself. Five years later, up against Malvika Bansod who is on the verge of priming in the badminton circuit, Saina Nehwal was outplayed and she lost in straight sets.

However, Nehwal, after her first-round match against Czech Republic's Tereza Svabikova where she had a retirement victory, told in the Mixed Zone interaction that she is only '60-70% fit' at this stage and she is yet to reach her fitness potential.

Against Malvika Bansod, Nehwal showed that she is far from her usual best as she committed a lot of unforced errors, especially at the net - and it was rather uncomfortable to see Saina struggling that way. Bansod, simply capitalized on such moments and pushed Nehwal into a lot of rallies and dragged her into net shots repeatedly - that saw the match swinging in her way.

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