Sindhu struggles at final hurdle, again

Sindhu struggles at final hurdle, again

She loses third major final of the year

GOOD SHOW: Indian silver medalist PV Sindhu (left) and Saina Nehwal with her bronze medal in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

A stealthy super cat called Tai Tzu Ying ruled the Asian Games badminton women’s final, snatching the gold with authority and leaving P V Sindhu with a silver medal of rare lustre.  

Sindhu may have repeatedly failed to cross the line in finals, falling short on many counts but on Tuesday, she fell prey to the superior court craft and deceptive skills of a player at the very top of her game.

Tai, the world number and top seed from Chinese Taipei, won the final 21-13, 21-16 in just 36 minutes, snuffing out Indian hopes of a first gold medal from this sport. Still, Sindhu’s silver was India's first in badminton and with Saina claiming the bronze, the country returns with two medals — the women compensating for a poor show by the men shuttlers.

Sindhu, seeded three, blamed a few errors from her racquet as the reason for Tai running away with the match. In reality, there was nothing much she could do. Most of the time, the points she won were as the result of unforced errors from the Chinese Taipei shuttler.

Sindhu, in fact, was never in this match, rather, she wasn't allowed by Tai to gain a foothold. There were hardly any rallies with Tai ensuring the points stayed short and crisp. A flick here, a drop there and a stinging smash or two would fly from her racquet, finding corners that Sindhu found hard to reach. 

“I shouldn’t have given her continuous points, should have broken her rhythm,” rued Sindhu later. “I made a few mistakes. Whenever I came close to her, I would make mistakes and she would pull away. I need to work hard on every stroke and stay positive. If you keep the shuttle in the game, she does make mistakes,” added the Indian and acknowledged Tai’s skills.

“She has every stroke, she is a deceptive player, attacking player. She is completely different, whether she is playing a toss or a smash or a drop, she is very deceptive. We are forced to move around more. If we are prepared for that, we can do well.”

That will be for another time. For today, when Sindhu looks back, she would find Tai dominating from the start, taking an early lead and forcing her to play catch-up. The world number one also hit some amazing winners, racing to a 16-10 lead in the first game and wrapping it up in just 16 minutes. 

Sindhu again trailed in the second game but she came close at 7-9, winning the only long rally of the match. Tai then reimposed her plans, pulling away in decisive fashion and finishing the match off with a neat placement.

Earlier, the jam-packed arena had its fill when Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie won the men’s singles gold medal with a 21-18, 20-22, 21-15 verdict over Chinese Taipei’s Chou Then Chen. It was Indonesia first men’s singles gold since Taufik Hidayat’s triumph in Doha 2006.