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Australian Open Badminton: PV Sindhu squanders match point to lose to World No. 1

PV Sindhu
So near and yet so far for PV Sindhu
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 23 Jun 2017, 15:33 IST
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Fifth seed PV Sindhu put up a valiant effort and even held a match point but failed to cross the finish line against the top seed and World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying in her quarter-final at the Crown Group Australian Open 2017 Superseries at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on Friday.

The Chinese Taipei ace came back from the brink for a thrilling 10-21, 22-20, 21-16 win over the Indian in exactly an hour.

The first game was a show of Sindhu’s firepower and aggression that silenced Tai. The Indian built a 7-5 lead which she extended to 13-7 pretty comfortably. She then unleashed her ruthless attack to win seven points on the trot en route to closing the game at 21-10.

Tai comes roaring back

The imperious Tai had her 27-match winning streak snapped only last week at the Indonesia Open and it was evident from her sloppy play that her confidence had been dented by that.

But she also proved at the same time that she does have the power to find the solution to what has been ailing her. She trailed Sindhu 8-11 at the interval in the second game, yet that could not deter her.

Slowly and steadily, she rediscovered her finesse and deception to first even the score at 13-13 and then storm to an 18-14 lead.

Sindhu too found a second wind and was not ready to surrender so meekly. By bagging five consecutive points, she led 19-18 and was even awarded a match point at 20-19. To her dismay, her shot went wide and Tai made the most of her second chance by forcing a decider.

In the third game, the Indian led 8-4 and 13-10 through some smart strokeplay only to see a rejuvenated Tai dashing all her hopes.  Tense rallies ensued where Tai gradually began getting the upper hand.

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From 15-15, Tai went on a run of her own, playing some stupendous badminton as Sindhu was left with no answer.

The fifth seed could save only one match point before the Chinese Taipei shuttler completed the win.

Earlier in the day, the Indonesia Open champion Srikanth Kidambi played a brilliant match to stave off the challenge of his training partner, B Sai Praneeth, 25-23, 21-17. This is his eighth win in a row.

He next faces the fourth seed Shi Yuqi of China for a place in the final.

Saina Nehwal takes on the sixth seed Sun Yu later in the day in a rematch of the 2016 Australian Open final.

Published 23 Jun 2017, 15:28 IST
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