"Looking to use home crowd to my advantage," says PV Sindhu ahead of final versus Carolina Marin
What’s the story?
PV Sindhu reached the final of the Yonex Sunrise India Open Super Series to set up a rematch of the women’s singles gold medal match at the Rio Olympics against Carolina Marin. She overcame a stiff challenge from second-seeded Sung Ji Hyun in a match that ended 21-18 14-21 21-14.
The match was a well-contested affair featuring some lengthy rallies and delectable net dribbles. “I was prepared from the start that it was going to be a tough match. I knew that I would have to play long rallies,” said the Indian in the post-match press conference.
“I started off very aggressively in the final game,” she said, before adding, “In my last match against Sung, I had lost in the third game as I was too defensive. I didn’t want to repeat that mistake this time around. Even though I got an 11-4 lead, she closed the gap to 12-10 in the end. So, it was quite tough.”
When asked about the prospect of playing against Marin, Sindhu smiled and said she will be gunning to reverse the result from Rio. “I know it will be a really good match for the fans to enjoy and I will look to use their support to my advantage. I will give my best on the court,” she said.
In case you didn’t know...
It was Marin who defeated Sindhu in the final at the 2016 Olympics by a 19-21 21-12 21-15 scoreline to become the first shuttler from her nation to win a medal.
Since then, the duo have met twice with the Indian winning their battle at the Dubai World Superseries Finals, while it was Marin who won their encounter in the recent Premier Badminton League, which was played in an 11-point game format.
The 23-year-old reached the final after a straight-game victory against Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi that ended 21-16 21-14.
The heart of the matter
With the home crowd fervently chanting her name, Sindhu picked up the first game of the match after a tight start. She trailed 6-7 as she went on a four-point spree to make it 10-7, after which she never let the Korean equalise. The game ended at 21-18 as the lanky Indian outplayed her opponent with some beautiful net play.
Sung fell 5-2 behind in the second game after losing an astonishing point in a rally that was 31 shots long. However, she clawed her way back by winning 11 of the next 13 points on offer to open up a 7-13 lead. The 21-year-old remained within touching distance at 13-16 but a four-point dash from Sung saw her close out the game at 14-21.
Sindhu came out all guns blazing in the decider, winning the first four points. From 5-2, she won six out of the next eight points, a sequence that included two delicious drop shots that saw a visibly agitated Sung throw her racket in frustration. The Indian saw her opening and went for the kill, pushing the Korean on to the back foot and closing off the game at 21-14.
The duo of Marin and Sindhu will face off on Sunday to see who will lift the India Open trophy in a match that is expected to go down to the wire.
Sindhu showed her class and her tenacity in a fine all-round display against a formidable opponent in the form of Sung Ji Hyun. The final against Marin promises to be an encounter of the highest quality and everyone is looking forward to it!