Indian badminton fans have finally got the moment they have been waiting for as PV Sindhu defeated Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-19, 21-17 in Guangzhou, China. By winning the match which lasted an hour and two minutes, Sindhu has become the first player from India to win the World Tour Finals event.
For Sindhu and her fans, this victory means a lot as she had lost in the last seven finals she had played, which included the World Championship final, Commonwealth Games final, Asian Games final and even last year's BWF World Tour Finals. Many had started calling her a 'choker' as she kept stumbling at the last hurdle.
But today she proved everyone wrong, showing the world that she can win big tournaments too.
The match started with Sindhu controlling the rallies very patiently, and she soon built a 14-6 lead. But Okuhara showed her mental toughness as she won 10 of the next 12 points to level the scores at 16-16.
Okuhara then made two back-to-back errors on down-the-line smashes. Those errors proved crucial as Sindhu managed to pocket the first game 21-19 in 29 minutes.
The second game started in the same fashion as Sindhu took an early lead of 3-0, but Okuhara clawed back to 7-7. Sindhu looked very composed as she kept recapturing the lead as and when Okuhara leveled the scores.
After the mid-game interval, the match started showing shades of the 2017 World Championship final between these two players as the rallies started getting more intense and gruelling. But from 17-16 up Sindhu won 4 of the next 5 points to win the second game 21-17.
This is Sindhu's first title this year. She has become only the second player in the history of women's singles to have not won any title in the year before winning the season-ending finale, after Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia in 2009.
With this win, Sindhu has taken lead in her head-to-head record against Okuhara, going up 7-6. She will next be seen playing PBL season 4, which starts from 22 December.