Dominating Saina wins Australian Open Super Series
Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal produced a dominating performance to beat Spain's Carolina Marin in the final and win the $750,000 Star Australian Super Series in Sydney on Sunday.
The sixth seeded Indian, who won the India Open Grand Prix Gold earlier this year, prevailed 21-18, 21-11 in 43 minutes.
The 24-year-old Saina, who enjoyed a 1-0 head-to-head record against Marin going into Sunday's match, logged the first point and then displayed deft net play to take a 5-2 lead in the opening game.
But the 21-year-old Marin was not one to give up easily and showed just why she is considered one of the feisty players on the circuit.
Marin narrowed the gap to 6-8, but seemed distinctly out of her comfort zone every time the Indian shuttler dragged her towards the net.
Saina went into the interval leading 11-7 after an intriguing rally, which ended with the Spaniard smashing the shuttle wide.
Marin raised her game after the break, but Saina was quick to counter-attack and returned smashes with intensity.
In between, Marin played some fine strokes but they were inconsistent as Saina made it 17-12 before sealing the opening game 21-18 after her world number 11 rival smashed one into the net 23 minutes into the match.
In the second game, Marin's determination helped her take a 3-1 lead, but it was not too long before Saina regained control on the back of some well-placed strokes from the baseline.
Perhaps, taking a cue from Marin, the Indian too let some emotion show as she clenched her fist and shouted 'come on' after every clinched point.
However, one of her screams came about in the middle of a rally, prompting Marin to complain to the chair umpire, who merely asked her to continue.
The distraction didn't do Marin any good as Saina raced to a 11-4 lead.
Dominating the proceedings, Saina produced some of her trademark smashes to race to a commanding lead before some moments of drama.
Leading 19-9, she challenged a line call that went against her but replays showed that the shuttle had landed wide. The Indian made another mistake while playing the next point as she buried an attempted smash into the net.
But she made amends quickly and clinched the title after Marin hit wide.