Super Sindhu reigns supreme on home turf

Badminton India Open Super Series: Shuttler powers past Marin in final

Super Sindhu reigns supreme on home turf
The badminton arena of the Sirifort Sports Complex was bursting at its seams. The noise emanating from it was deafening with the chants of ‘Sindhu, Sindhu’ ubiquitous. It only hit a crescendo as the young Hyderabadi clinched her maiden Yonex-Sunrise India Open title to underline her rapid rise in world badminton.

The fact that her 21-19, 21-16 victory came over her nemesis Carolina Marin, who beat her to Olympic gold in Rio last year, made it even more special. It was her second Super Series title after winning the China Open in November last. The 47-minute contest lived every bit to the hype, as the two “good friends” off the court gave their all at each point.

“I really played well. The first game was really crucial for me. She was also playing well and for both of us the first game was really important. From the start, both of us were fighting for each point. It is one of the important tournaments. After China Open this is my second title and that too at the start of the year,” said Sindhu.

Before the women’s singles contest, Rio Olympic bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen finally got third time lucky here. The Dane needed a mere 36 minutes to dispatch Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-13, 21-10 for his maiden title here.

“I am definitely very happy to be third time lucky. I was focused and didn’t allow my emotions to get the better of me,” said Axelsen, who lost in the last two finals here.

Sindhu, showing good court-craft, attacked from the start. She never allowed Marin, returning from a back injury, to settle into the contest. With coach P Gopichand finally taking the courtside seat, Sindhu was delightful with her drops and flicks as much as she was with her smashes. And her defence kept her in good stead against the deceptive game of Marin.

In a keenly fought opening game, Sindhu kept her nerves and trailed only thrice.

She lost the first point, before opening up 6-1 lead, and later fell behind at 17-18 and 18-19 against the resilient Spaniard. At 19-19, Sindhu surged ahead with a clever mix of smashes and a drop and held the game point when the backhand push of Marin went wide.

Within seconds, Sindhu had pocketed the first game when Marin couldn’t retrieve her powerful smash.

A confident Sindhu quickly opened up a 4-0 lead in the second game. And though Marin, with flashes of brilliance, kept snapping at her heels, Sindhu stretched her lead post interval. As Marin, at 20-16, sent her return to the net, Sindhu had got thousands in the stands on their feet.

Results: (All finals): Men: Singles: 3-Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt 7-Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) 21-13, 21-10. Doubles: 4-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/ Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt 6-Ricky KarandasuwardI/ Angga Pratama (Ina) 21-11, 21-15.

Women: Singles: 3-PV Sindhu (Ind) bt 1-Carolina Marin (Esp) 21-19, 21-16. Doubles: 7-Shiho Tanaka/ Koharu Yonemoto (Jap) bt 3-Naoko Fukuman/ Kurumi Yonao (Jpn) 16-21, 21-19, 21-10.

Mixed doubles: 2-Lu Kai/ Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt 1-Zheng Siwei/ Chen Qingchen (Chn) 22-24, 21-14, 21-17.

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