India Open 2017: PV Sindhu beats Sung Ji Hyun to set up final showdown with Carolina Marin
Third seed PV Sindhu edged the second seed Sung Ji Hyun to set up a rematch of the Olympic final with top seed Carolina Marin at the $325,000 BWF Metlife Yonex Sunrise India Open Superseries 2017 held at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday. After pocketing the first game, the Rio Olympic silver medallist's intensity dropped in the second game but she managed to storm back in the decider for a 21-18,14-21, 21-14 victory in 1 hour 16 minutes.
Marin had it easy in the other semi-final of the day and comfortably beat the fourth seed Akane Yamaguchi, 21-16, 21-14 in 40 minutes.
This will, however, not be the first meeting between Sindhu and Marin since their classic Olympic clash. They did cross swords at the Dubai World Superseries Finals in December in a group match which the Indian won in straight games.
Marin was, of course, dealing with a few niggling injuries then and was not at her best. She claims to have recovered now and is enjoying herself on the court again which sets up the prospect of a thrilling final at the India Open Superseries on Sunday.
Sindhu had lost her last meeting with Sung
It was at that World Superseries Finals where Sindhu’s run was ended by Sung Ji Hyun in the semi-finals in three gruelling games which was their most recent encounter prior to this India Open Superseries semi-final meeting.
Sung did start off things positively in the semi and led 6-3 before Sindhu started her comeback. Using her height to create some beautiful angles, the lanky Indian surprised the Korean and levelled it at 7-7.
With some aggressive hitting and tremendous defence, she took the game away from the World No. 4 and led 17-13 before wrapping up the first game 21-18.
The second game too seemed to be heading Sindhu’s way as she was in control of the proceedings initially and cruised to 5-2. But a dip in her intensity and her inability to prevent Sung from playing a fast-paced attacking game did not help her cause thereafter. Sung kept pocketing the points swiftly from thereon and built up a 14-8 advantage. Sindhu closed the gap to just three points as she trailed 13-16 but a determined Sung was not thrown off by that and kept her composure to take the second game, 21-14.
A pumped up Sindhu returned to make a brilliant start in the decider and quickly raced ahead to 4-0 and then 6-2. Constantly rotating her shots well to keep Sung off-balance, she was up 11-4 at the mid-game interval.
Sung did fight back to reduce the deficit to 10-12 but her errors came in her way. Sindhu didn’t waste any more time and accelerated to 18-12 before marching into her first final at the India Open Superseries.
She is looking to complete the home double after having won the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold earlier in January.