Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu came up against a stumbling block in the final of the 2016 Hong Kong Open Superseries on Sunday in her quest to win back-to-back Superseries titles. The Indian, who captured the China Open last week, gave her all but it was not enough to surmount the confident fourth seed and World No. 3 Tai Tzu Ying. The Chinese Taipei shuttler used her brilliant deceptive game to clinch a 21-15, 21-17 win in 41 minutes.
Tai had a 4-3 head-to-head record over the Indian and was indeed a tough opponent for the 21-year-old. But the Indian had also beaten her in their very last showdown at the Rio Olympic in August in straight games and was definitely looking to repeat that.
All her hopes were dashed as Tai refused to have any let-up in her intensity. From the start to the finish, she was the one fully in control of the proceedings.
Interestingly, it was the fourth seed, who had struggled to reach the summit clash and had dropped a game in three of her four matches. Sindhu, in contrast, had grown in confidence with every match and conceded a game just once in four matches and was riding high on a nine-match winning streak.
Tai built a lead of 5-3 in the opening game and even though Sindhu came back to get within 8-9, the Chinese Taipei shuttler was able to grab an 11-8 advantage at the interval.
On resumption, Tai’s deceptive game continued to hurt the Indian badly. Showing exceptional all-court movement, the higher-ranked player stormed ahead to 17-10 and extended the lead to 19-14 before wrapping up the opener.
In the second game, it was Sindhu who made a better start and inched ahead 4-2 only to see the sizzling Tai come back to erase it for 4-4. The young Indian tried to use her aggressive game to get a slender lead but was prevented from running away with it as Tai used her exquisite touches to perfection to disrupt Sindhu’s rhythm.
From 11-10 up at the break, Sindhu soon found herself trailing 13-17. The two engaged in some gritty rallies towards the end and a 32-point rally kept the crowd on tenterhooks. Ultimately, Tai managed to stave off the surging Sindhu to pocket the win which gave the Chinese Taipei player her second Hong Kong Open Superseries crown.