Glasgow: India’s wait for a World Champion in badminton was extended in Glasgow after its biggest hope PV Sindhu went down in the final of the World Badminton Championships on Sunday.
The Indian, who had reached her first final of this tournament, suffered a 19-21 22-20 20-22 loss in a thrilling, energy snapping match.
Sindhu now has three World Championships medal as she had won two bronze medals at the previous two editions. Her silver is also an addition to the same medal won at the Rio Olympics where she had lost to Carolina Marin in the final.
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Back in her “yellow” outfit, Sindhu looked comfortable playing the defensive game and tried to read her opponent. She had faced the Japanese player six times before this. Both players enjoyed a 3-3 head-to-head record.
At the break in first game, she lead 11-5 and kept the momentum after the break. But suddenly, the young Japan player turned it around and took a 13-11 lead. Sindhu did not give it away to tie it 19-19. This time Nokuhara kept her calm and went on to win the game 21-19.
The second game was exhibition of highest quality of badminton as Sindhu and Okuhara tried fought for every point. Okuhara’s defensive game became frustrating for Sindhu after a time and she had trouble completing her winners.
Sindhu and Okuhara engaged in long rallies and though the Indian quite a few winners, Okuhara’s defence proved too much for the Indian. Yet, she had the lead most times in the second game. Okuhara went on to tie the second game 20-20 and looked set to claim the match with a stunning comeback. But, Sindhu somehow got the better in the best rally of the match to win the game 22-20.
The second game wore out Sindhu and she took time to get her breath back in the final game. She trailed 5-1 before taking four successive points to make it 5-5. She took a 11-9 lead at the break.
It became a battle for every point hereon. Okuhara kept her defence, Sindhu kept hitting winners. None was successful as both ran to tie the game 17-17. Okuhara managed to bring herself back in the game every time Sindhu tried running away with it. Her net play, along with some long shots tired Sindhu who was also warned for taking too much time during rallies.
At 19-19, Sindhu made a error on return a net shot. She went too quickly for her shot and slammed it straight into the set to giver her opponent first Championships point. The Indian came back with a point and tied it 20-20.
Okuhara’s deceiving game proved the difference as she faked a smash and ended up playing a drop shot to which Sindhu did not reach and lost the match.