PV Sindhu now remains the last Indian standing after the fall of Kidambi Srikanth and the doubles teams at the Indonesia Open in Jakarta on Thursday. It has not been a satisfactory campaign by any means for the Indian contingent and Srikanth's second-round loss was certainly not expected, considering the easy draw he had.
The onus now lies on PV Sindhu's shoulders to keep the Indian Tricolour flying high at this prestigious Super 1000 tournament which she has never won. But the task ahead is not simple.
The fifth seed has to take care of former world champion Nozomi Okuhara who is prone to engaging the lanky Indian in long rallies and marathon matches. A Sindhu vs Okuhara encounter is always expected to be a blockbuster. Their 2017 World Championships final, which went on to become one of the longest badminton matches ever played, vindicates that.
But the difference between that match and today's is that Sindhu is short of confidence and lacking clarity of thought. The World No. 5 has not been able to back up her BWF World Tour Finals title win in December. By her lofty standards, Sindhu has struggled, suffering losses in major tournaments much earlier than she should have.
That is a major concern ahead of a clash against someone as feisty as Okuhara who will not give up until the match point is won. Even at the Indonesia Open this week, Sindhu has dropped a couple of games on her way to the quarter-finals while the Japanese has cruised through in straight games in each of her matches. The World No. 2 also beat Sindhu soundly at the Singapore Open in April.
Needless to say, Okuhara has the momentum in her favour and Sindhu will need to summon all her courage, fighting spirit and self-belief to try and halt the Japanese's charge.
Here is all you need to know about the Indonesia Open:
Tournament name: Blibli Indonesia Open 2019
Category: Super 1000
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Schedule of match: (5) PV Sindhu vs (3) Nozomi Okuhara at approximately 4:30-5pm IST on Friday, July 19, 2019
Head-to-head: Sindhu 7-7 Okuhara
Where to watch the matches in India?
The Indonesia Open matches will be telecast live on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD from July 17.
Live Stream Details and Info for the matches:
Live Stream for the matches is available on hotstar.com.