Saina Nehwal, after her impressive run en route to the final of the World Badminton Championship in Jakarta, failed to cross the most important hurdle as she lost to Carolina Marin, who was on a completely different level. Some basic errors and a below-par performance at the net cost Saina the gold medal.
Marin had answers to everything that was thrown by Saina -- smashes, overhead shot, drop shot -- with the Spaniard's defence standing tall.
Saina, who lost the final in straight games 21-16, 21-19, did not put up her best when required in the gold medal match. Had Saina played the way she did against Wang Yihan in the quarterfinals, the Indian shuttler could have run away with the gold.
The final failed to get the best out of her, as Saina herself admitted that she did not play well and could have done better.
"I didn't play my best, I could've done better. Too many mistakes in the first game. In the second, I had a lead, but points went by very quickly and within no time she was level," PTI quoted Saina Nehwal as saying.
The defending champion Marin might have had a tough time getting to the final with three out of her four matches being decided in the third game, but her performance in the final was top notch.
The world number one showed her mental strength as she did not give any easy points to Saina Nehwal.
Coming into the final of the competition, Saina had a good head-to-head record against Marin, who had only defeated the Indian once in her previous four attempts. Marin's victory over Saina came during their last clash -- the All England final earlier in the year, where the Indian lost after winning the first game.
"I could've been more patient then during those 4-5 points. I had no problems with fitness. Final is more mental than physical. I made one silly error in the second game during a crucial moment," Saina added.
"In the second set, I was on the slower side. I was trying to make rallies happen but the points went very quickly."