The 18-year-old from Hyderabad was cheered on by a roaring home crowd as she took an incredible 21-20, 21-20 victory over her German opponent.
Sindhu fell behind early in the match, but a brilliantly executed smash brought the stadium alive as Sindhu clawed back to even terms at 4-4. But the world No.3 won a troika of points to edge ahead 7-4 at the first break.
An over eager Schenk struck one powerfully into the net to allow Sindhu to narrow the gap to 7-6. The crafty Indian wrong footed Schenk to go ahead for the first time as she took a two point lead at 9-7, having won five points on the run immediately after the break.
Schenk failed to pull off a clever ploy to leave Sindhu stuck at the back when the shuttle flicked the tape and fell right back to leave Sindhu in the lead at 11-9. But the experienced German worked her way back to 13-12 covering the court with speed before finishing with a feathery touch at the net.
The players went into the break at 14-12 for Sindhu, but Schenk moved her opponent side to side before leaving her stretched to take the first point upon return to the court. Schenk remained in touch with a powerful strike to Sindhu’s forehand as she kept it even at 16-16.
At 17-17, Schenk made a service error and Sindhu responded in kind immediately to keep the match evenly poised at 18-18. The 18 year old sailed the bird long on the next point to surrender the lead for the first time in the game.
Attacking Schenk by striking straight at her, Sindhu cramped her opponent for space and Schenk feathered one into the net to help Sindhu gain a game point. But the Hyderabadi failed to get the shuttle across the net on the next point to leave the balance hanging by a thread at 20-20. Schenk missed a backhand by a whisker to gift the game to the emerging Indian star.
The tension was palpable in the air around the court as the duo returned on court for the second game. Schenk had the early lead at 3-1 but the German failed to respond to her young opponent’s power as she fell behind 3-5 with an error from the back of the court.
Sindhu thundered a brutally powerful smash straight into the net to fall behind 5-7 at the first break. Schenk continued her resurgence into the match, using her guile and craft to leave Sindhu trailing at 6-11.
The German’s wily ways were amply evident when she leapt into the air only to strike a feather drop inches short of her stretching opponent to extend her advantage to 6 points. After a long lull, Sindhu won a point for 7-13 when Schenk sent one wide of her opponent’s backhand.
The gap grew to seven points as Schenk extended her lead to 16-9. But egged on by a wildly cheering home crowd Sindhu dug deep inside her reserves to script a remarkable recovery, working on her opponent one point at a time.
Only five points from forcing the decider, Schenk wilted only slightly and Sindhu forced her way back into the game with dogged tenacity of a spirited Warrior. Indulging her opponent in a series of strenuous rallies, Sindhu rallied her way back into the game.
At 19-17, Sindhu made a final push as she lunged herself to even terms at 19-19. Schenk sent a smash long to offer match point to Sindhu, but the 18 year old returned the compliment with an error of her own to leave an entire stadium on tenterhooks at 20-20. Finally, a smash beyond the reach of a deflated Schenk ended the thrilling contest in favour of the Warriors.Published 26 Aug 2013, 22:19 IST