Sindhu storms into final

Badminton India Open Super Series: Indian ace downs Sung in tense tie, to take on top seed Marin

Sindhu storms into final
PV Sindhu produced another gritty performance to storm into her maiden Yonex-Sunrise India Open final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex heer on Saturday.

In an energy-sapping contest lasting an hour and 16 minutes, the 21-year-old Indian overcame the strong challenge of World No 4 Sung Ji Hyun 21-18, 14-21, 21-14 in front of a packed house. Waiting on the other side of the net on Sunday would be World No 3 Carolina Marin to reprise the memories of Rio Olympic final. Marin packed off Japanese Akane Yamaguchi 21-16, 21-14 in the first semifinal. Like Sindhu, it will be her first final here.

Sindhu, who had lost to Marin in the Olympic final, quipped, “I hope it is not a repeat just a rematch. We are good friends off the court but on court you will see our aggression. This title means a lot as it is my home ground.”

Sindhu, indeed, has come a long way and it reflected during her victory over Sung. Brimming with confidence and self-belief, Sindhu kept up with the long rallies, and dominated them. She maintained good shuttle control and showed sharp anticipation against the deceptive game of the Korean. She was game to slow down the pace, mixing her stinging smashes with wristy drops and flicks.

Sindhu nosed ahead 11-9 during the interval in the first game and quickly broke away 17-13. Sung, true to her ilk, won points in clumps to cover the deficit to 17-16. But Sindhu regained control and took the opening game with a smash on her opponent’s backhand.

The Korean, however, returned strongly in the second game. She led from the start, and despite Sindhu’s efforts, pushed the contest into the decider. The Indian, though, began the final game with aggression and went for swift closure. In a jiffy, she opened up 11-4 lead. And though the Korean again fought back to make it 13-12, Sindhu didn’t wobble. She regrouped to open up a 19-13 lead.

With a slice she earned six match points, and soon had her arms in the air once Sung muffed the shuttle in the net.

“I remember last time in the decider, I made some errors and gave her lead. So I was prepared from the first point itself. She came back in the third but I told myself if she can win so many points why can’t I?”

The men’s final will be between Chou Tien Chen and third-seeded Viktor Axelsen.

Results: Semifinals: Men’s singles: 7-Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) bt Anders Antonsen (Den) 21-17, 21-14, 3-Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt 6-Ng Ka Long Angus (Hkg) 21-12, 21-13.

Women’s singles: 3-PV Sindhu (Ind) bt 2-Sung Ji Hyun (Kor) 21-18, 14-21, 21-14, 1-Carolina Marin (Esp) bt 4-Akane Yamaguchi (Jap) 21-16, 21-14.

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