Japan Open 2017: Brace yourselves for Sindhu versus Okuhara 3.0
PV Sindhu has established herself as a force to be reckoned with. A silver medal at the coveted BWF World Championships and two Super Series titles already in her kitty this year, she is in the form of her life. Her impeccable streak is a matter of both jealousy and concern for all her opponents but there is one woman who has stood toe-to-toe with Sindhu and the world knows her by the name of Nozomi Okuhara.
To say that both these super athletes have delivered two instant classics in the recent past would be the biggest understatement ever. Though Okuhara prevailed in a thrilling encounter in the final of the World Championships, Sindhu got her revenge after surviving a gruesome three-set battle in the recently concluded Korea Open. Revenge is a dish best served cold but for Sindhu, it was the sooner the better.
Sindhu versus Okuhara has emerged as the rivalry that every badminton fan has their eyes on. Not just India and Japan, the whole world is rooting for these two super talented shuttlers. And fortunately for the fans, the next chapter in this already historic rivalry is all set to happen on Wednesday as the prestigious Japan Open has commenced and the two will square off once again in the second round itself. All the pieces are in place and the stage is all set for another edge of the seat enthralling battle.
Sindhu went head to head with another talented Japanese, Minatsu Mitani in the first round. Mitani is ranked number 19 in the world at the moment and proved to be a tricky opponent for Sindhu. Sindhu fought hard to prevail 12-21, 21-15, 21-17 in three sets to seal a berth in the second round of the tournament.
On the other hand, Okuhara hardly had to break a sweat in her easy first round match against Cheung Ngan Y. She registered a comfortable 21-15, 21-13 victory and will be the fresher player in their round two clash.
Yet again, Sindhu now finds Okuhara on the other side of the net. The two women couldn’t be more different in their build and size but they push each other to the limit and certainly bring out the best in each other. Whatever the result may be, one thing is for sure -- the match will be one that will again be remembered for the foreseeable future.
Their 73 and 56-shot long rallies might have entertained and thrilled the world, but they might prove to be merely a beginning of something much more special.
But Sindhu isn’t the lone Indian warrior in the fray. Saina Nehwal, who was the bronze medallist at the recently concluded World Championships, has also recovered from her thigh injury scare and is roaring to decimate her opponents once again. After an easy 21-17, 21-9 victory in the first round, Saina, without any shadow of a doubt is a strong contender to win the tournament.
The Japan Open is most definitely an event to look forward to for badminton fans all over the world. Hope that the Indian contingent makes us proud again. But everyone has their eyes set on another enthralling clash between the two new giants on the block -- Sindhu and Okuhara.