(1) Tai Tzu Ying (WR #1) vs (2) PV Sindhu (WR #3)
Head-to-head: Tai leads 7-3
Last meeting: 2017 Australian Open quarter-finals - Tai def Sindhu, 10-21, 22-20, 21-16
The season’s final Superseries event has thrown up a repeat of last year’s final. It is once a contest between Tai Tzu Ying and PV Sindhu.
Tai emerged a 21-15, 21-17 winner the last time they met in Kowloon, blunting Sindhu’s aggression with her brilliant deceptive skills. It was the start of the Chinese Taipei shuttler’s dominance in the Superseries circuit. She became unstoppable and went on an inexorable run that saw her winning the Dubai World Superseries Finals, the All England Open, the Malaysia Open and the Singapore Open, apart from the Asian Championships.
However, it was in June’s Indonesia Open that cracks appeared in what was till then an impregnable Tai fortress. Tai lost her first Superseries match of the year to Nitchaon Jindapol in the quarter-finals. She had to wait till the last week of October to win her next title -- the French Open Superseries.
Evidently, Tai is not the same invincible force anymore. She has been bested quite a few times in the last few months. Even Sindhu was close to doing it in their most recent showdown in Australia.
The Indian held a match point in that June meeting before the World No. 1 stormed back to take the match away from the World Championships silver medallist.
Five months later, it is Sindhu, who looks to have an edge, albeit a slight one. Having struggled since her Korea Open triumph, she has been showing her usual brilliance all through this week in Hong Kong and has not dropped a game en route to the final. It all culminated into her best match in months against the Denmark Open champion Ratchanok Intanon in the semi-finals yesterday.
There was not a single thing that Sindhu did wrong. She dominated the forecourt and rained down smashes at the right time, displaying total clarity of thought. What was more impressive was her scintillating defensive game. The 22-year-old has shown signs of an improved defence in the last one year, but it probably did not shine in the past few weeks as much as it did against the former world champion.
That performance definitely gave a tremendous boost to Sindhu’s confidence. Could she bank on it to avenge the defeat that was inflicted on her right here 12 months ago?
Here is all the information you need to know:
Tournament name: Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open
Total prize money: $400,000
Venue: Kowloon, Hong Kong
Date: Sunday, November 26, 2017
Time: Around 1.30pm IST
Channel: Star Sports 2/Star Sports 2 HD
Livestream information: Star Sports Hotstar