Badminton rivalry: Saina Nehwal versus PV Sindhu

Over the last decade, the popularity of badminton has increased tremendously in India. Most of the credit goes to the queens of Indian badminton, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu. From the Super Series titles to Olympic medals, Saina and Sindhu have attracted attention across the World. Moreover, they are the role models for badminton in India.

Just like other sports, rivalries exist in badminton too. Let me take you across the rivalry and head to head record that exists between PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. The legends have played against each other 4 times on the International circuit and Saina leads 3-1 in the head to head record. 

While Saina has earned the first Indian Olympic medal in badminton, Sindhu went further to change the color of the Olympic medal. While Saina was the first Indian to become World no.1, Sindhu’s five World Championship medals are noteworthy. Both of them have helped to craft India’s name on the World map of Badminton.

Now let’s go through some nail-biting and dramatic encounters between Saina Nehwal vs PV Sindhu.

2014 India Grand Prix Gold 

The 2012 London Olympics Bronze medallist beat compatriot and second seed, PV Sindhu in straight games to claim the women’s singles crown. Saina was the first seed of the tournament and she won the final 21-14, 21-17 in 40 minutes to earn her first title since the 2012 Denmark Open Super Series premier. 

2017 India Open 

The shuttlers met again at the 2017 India Open. Sindhu avenged her 2014 India Open loss to Saina Nehwal who defeated her 21-14, 21-17. Three years later Sindhu returned the favor by winning the match in straight games 21-16, 22-20 against Saina Nehwal. 

They met at the quarterfinals of the tournament and the 21-year-old Sindhu used her aggression to win the first game in just 19 minutes. Though the second game went on to be a dicey encounter, Sindhu successfully prevailed and prevented a deciding game. This was Sindhu’s first victory against Saina on the International circuit. Also, to take a look at Sindhu’s five best performances so far, click here.

2018 Commonwealth Games

After a heartbreaking loss at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Saina made up for the loss by defeating her rival, PV Sindhu to win her second Commonwealth Badminton Gold medal. This was a major comeback for Saina after being caressed with a knee injury. 

At the Commonwealth Games in Australia, Saina was a doubtful hope for India but she overcame all challenges to prove her mettle and determination. She not only helped India to a gold medal in the mixed team event but also won the women’s singles -once again, with a victory against PV Sindhu.  

Saina beat PV Sindhu in straight games 21-18, 23-21, and a 64-shot rally at 17-18 in the second game was a highlight of the contest. This was one of the finest performances of Saina Nehwal against PV Sindhu.

2018 Indonesia Masters 

Former World no. 1 asserted her supremacy against the Olympic Silver medallist, PV Sindhu, to enter the semifinals of the Indonesia Masters. 

Saina won the match in straight games 21-13, 21-19 that lasted for 37 minutes. 

Other Matches 

The legends met each other the finals of the BAI Senior National Championships as well. At the 2017 and 2019 National Championships, Saina beat Sindhu in straight games. 

2017 National Championships: 21-17, 27-25

2019 National Championships: 21-18, 21-15

Final Thoughts

Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu are the treasures of Indian Badminton. Their rivalry has entertained fans all around the World. Currently, Sindhu is ranked World no. 6 and Saina ranks World no. 20 on the BWF ranking list. According to the ranking list, Sindhu has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and hopefully, after the tournament resumes, even Saina has a chance to qualify for her third Olympics.

I hope you enjoyed this article.

Thanks for reading. Keep Playing.

Anushree Burad

Qualified as an MBA in Sports Management. A Sports fanatic and a passionate badminton player. My passion for sports drove me to foray into sports writing. This is my attempt at translating my thoughts into words. Looking forward to contributing to Sports through my writing.

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