Asian Games 2018: Can PV Sindhu win India's first badminton gold?
PV Sindhu has created history, once again, by becoming the first Indian woman to reach the finals of the Women's Singles Badminton Event in the Asian Games.
Her superlative performance in the semifinals against World No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, whom Sindhu defeated in 3 sets (21-17, 15-21, 21-10), was a great match to watch.
Sindhu dominated her Japanese opponent right from the start of the match and raced ahead to a 20-15 lead in the first game. Although Yamaguchi saved 2 game points, Sindhu eventually won the first set 21-17.
In the second set, Sindhu once again started off well and took an early lead. However, Yamaguchi then staged a comeback and took the second game 21-15.
In the all important decider, i.e. 3rd set, Sindhu again made a solid start, and took a four point lead of 11-7 at the mid game interval. In the second half of the 3rd game, Sindhu was at her very best and smashed Yamaguchi out of the game and the match, by winning 10 of the last 13 points.
Sindhu has been the most consistent women's shuttler in the world. She has reached the finals of all the major badminton tournaments in the last few years, viz the 2016 Rio Olympics, The BWF World Championships of 2017 and 2018, the Commonwealth Games of 2018 and now the 2018 Asian Games.
However, she has been unable to cross the final hurdle each time round, and hence had to be satisfied with the silver medal.
Will Sindhu be able to change the colour of the medal and be the Asian Games Champion?
Will she be able to win the first gold medal for her country in the badminton discipline of the Asian Games?
All these questions are now in the minds of the Indian badminton fans.
PV Sindhu's Chances in the Final vs Tai Tzu Ying:
PV Sindhu had tough matches in the tournament, right from the initial rounds. In her very first match, she survived a scare, before winning in 3 sets. In the subsequent rounds also, Sindhu overcame stiff resistance from Indonesian and Thai opponents. The semifinal against Yamaguchi was also a gruelling encounter.
However, her final against the World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying, of Chinese Taipei, will definitely be the toughest match of the tournament for her. Tai is in unbelievable form. On her way to the finals, she has beaten greats of the game like Saina Nehwal and Okhuhara in straight sets.
Hence, Sindhu has to be at her very best if she is to beat Tai, and win her maiden gold medal.
Sindhu's form, consistency and ability to pull off big matches gives hope to the entire nation that she can bring India its first gold medal in badminton, in the Asian Games.