Olympic bronze medallist Saina, who has been competing at the All England since 2007, had never lost to the Spaniard and looked on course for an encore before the World No. 6 scripted a remarkable comeback in the second game to bury the Indian’s hopes. Saina threw away a 6-1 cushion in the second game before the Spainard pressed the throttle.
After suffering heartbreaks at the semis of the All England in 2010 and 2013, a billion hopes were riding on the 24-year-old Indian as she geared up for the finals. Although Saina played down expectations before her final but interest was such that former Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar wished her luck on Twitter.
But for the Hyderabadi it was yet another case of so near yet so far for. But what forced the crowd’s favourite throw the towel so easily? Was it the burden of great expectations or simply, because she failed to fathom her opponent?
“I just lost focus and began hurrying, which was not right,” Saina said after the match. “Playing against top players anything can happen at any stage, and you can always get nervous at some point in time. That’s what happened here.”
For Saina, who defeated two top Chinese opponents, Wang Yihan and Sun Yu, on her way to the final, being nervous against Carolina was not expected as she has never lost to the Spaniard in her three previous meetings. Her latest victory came in the finals of the Syed Modi International championship at Lucknow in January early this year.