BWF World Tour Finals 2018: PV Sindhu becomes the first Indian to win season-ending championships

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu
Sudeshna Banerjee

Star shuttler PV Sindhu created history on Sunday by becoming the first Indian ever to win the season-ending championships. The World No. 6 needed 1 hour 2 minutes to seal a 21-19, 21-17 win over the fifth-ranked Nozomi Okuhara at the BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China.

This is Sindhu's biggest career title after her slew of runner-up finishes at some of the major badminton tournaments that include the Rio Olympics, the World Championships and the Asian Games.

With this win, Sindhu erased the setback she suffered last year when she lost a gruelling three-game final to Akane Yamaguchi. This was Sindhu's first title win of the season after playing 17 events in 2018. With this much-awaited title, she also ended her seven-month losing streak in finals.

Sindhu's last title before this was at the Korea Open in September of 2017. She needed another 15 months to get to lay her hands on her next winner's trophy, having lost finals at the World Championships, the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games in between.

Before the 23-year-old, Pullela Gopichand's other protege, Saina Nehwal had made it to the summit clash of this tournament in 2011, losing to Wang Yihan. The mixed doubles team of Jwala Gutta and V Diju too had to be content with a runner-up finish in 2009 with a loss to Denmark's Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen.

Sindhu's win over Okuhara helped her move ahead to 7-6 in their head-to-head record in a very fascinating rivalry that has captured the attention of the sports world whenever these two have crossed swords.

After their blockbuster final at the 2017 World Championships that stretched to 110 minutes, they met in two other finals, with the two splitting the results.

At the BWF World Tour Finals this week, Sindhu beat the World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying for the first time in seven meetings and that paved the way for her to top her group. Sindhu did not drop a game in any of her other four matches and had wins over World No. 2 Yamaguchi, World No. 8 Ratchanok Intanon and World No. 12 Beiwen Zhang on her way to a memorable end to the 2018 season.

Edited by Sripad


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