Pune:Saina Nehwal survived some nervous moments to claim the girls singles gold of the third Commonwealth Youth Games at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Friday.
Fifteen-year-old Sikki Reddy gave Saina the jitters before the Beijing Olympic Games quarter-finalist wrapped up the tie 23-21, 22-20 to clinch the gold on the fifth and penultimate day.
It needed a string of unforced errors from Sikki to enable Saina pocket the first game after she was down 17-18 at one point of time. Saina capitalised on her opponent's errors to take the lead at 20-18.
Sikki bounced back to level the scores at 21-21 and it was then that the India number one's experience came to the fore. She produced a spectacular smash to close the game.
The second game was no different as each time Saina tried to put Sikki on the mat, she would bounce back.
Saina extended her lead to 6-2 before Sikki closed down the gap to 8-5. Some errors by the Hyderabadi ace saw Sikki back on level terms at 9-9 before the 15-year-old opened up a two-point lead.
With the game oscillating from one to the other, it was Saina's turn to forge ahead. She was just two points away from victory at 19-13 when her rival won four consecutive points as the crowd egged her own.
However, an overhead smash helped Saina stretch her lead and when Sikki's shot went beyond the line, the match was all over.
Saina lauded her opponent, who also trains at the Gopichand Academy.
"Sikki has been playing very well recently... She is giving a tough fight to all the players. She can go well from here."