PV Sindhu lost her semi-final clash against World No.1 Tai Tzu-ying at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The Indian shuttler was aiming to repeat her performance in Rio in 2016 and make it to a second consecutive Olympic final.
However, Sindhu's hopes were dashed by Tzu-ying in a lopsided semifinal. The Chinese Taipei shuttler beat Sindhu in straight sets (21-18, 21-12) inside 40 minutes.
Sindhu had not lost a game prior to the match against Tzu-ying and was left crestfallen at the end of their encounter. She still has a chance to win a bronze medal when she takes on China's He Bingjiao in the third-place match.
Here is what PV Sindhu had to say after the match.
"I should have taken the first game. It was not easy but I came close. I have to take it in a positive way. At 18-18, things could have gone either way.
Sindhu went on to add:
"Tai didn't make any unforced errors. At the end of the day, it's semifinals so everybody will be in the top level. It's sad to be on the losing side. I still have a bronze medal match tomorrow. I've got to keep my tempo going and recover soon and come back stronger tomorrow."
On being asked how difficult it is to beat Tzu-ying, Sindhu said:
"She had some very deceptive strokes but I was prepared for that from the start. There were really good rallies in between and I was ready for her. It wasn't a case of being too difficult for me to handle. I had a good game overall but unfortunately ended up on the losing side. I am disappointed about the result."
"Even though I lost the first game, on several occasions I have come back and won the second and third game. So I didn't give up and fought till the last point. Even though she was leading with five or six points, i still fought back because it can change all of a sudden. She did really well throughout the match to keep me at bay."
"With Tzu-yinh, I think there were going to be rallies and you can't expect easy points. I didn't feel at any point that I was being run around because of her deceptive strokes. My game had to be about anticipation."
"With her deceptive shots, she makes some mistakes in other matches. However, today she was better and had very few unforced errors. I had to play her at the highest level. It was a highly competitive game."
"The reason she was moving me was because we had long rallies and it was just that each and every point was important here. It was not about me trying to play catch up or staying in the game."
Prior to the match, Sindhu was in contention for gold. When asked if her thought process included the possibility of winning gold before facing Tzu-ying, she said:
"Since the first tournament started, I needed to win every match and not think about the semifinals or the finals. The focus was always on the next match."
"I just think about the next match. It's important to focus on that and who I am going to play. So even today in the morning, I was just thinking that I need to give my best against Tzu-ying."
"I have a rather simple belief, a mindset that helps me stay neutral after matches. One player will win and one will lose, it happens in all matches."
Sindhu ready to give it her best for the bronze medal
Up next for SIndhu is her bronze medal match. When asked about the match, Sindhu said:
''It's not going to be easy and I think it's going to be a really good match. I need to recover soon and come back stronger. It's hard to play the very next day after you lose since there is some disappointment that you have to wash over. You always want to be on the winning side. However, I still do have a chance to win a medal. I have to believe I can come back and win the bronze."
Sindhu was asked about how determined she was to win the semifinal and qualify for the gold match. She said:
"Definitely wanted it (to qualify for the gold match) because everybody works hard for it. However, that is the nature of a big tournament. There are plenty of good players and everybody wants to win gold but only one can take it home. I feel I tried hard and gave my best shot. It just wasn't my day."
When asked what the turning point in the match was, Sindhu said:
"Every point was important because you never know when the game will change. I fought for every point but a couple of mistakes in the second game, cost me the match.I had to chance to win those points and if I did, it could have been a different game. I had my chance then to change the match."
Sindhu was asked about the overall difficulty of surviving in this generation of women's singles players. She said:
"It's very important that you keep your tempo up at all times. In the women's singles, the top 10 players or so are of the same standard. You can't expect an easy match because every time you play against them, you have to bring your best game."
"Moreover, even the other lower-ranked players, they also have a good level. So all matches are tough. It can be noticed in the men's singles where a lot of good players are losing. It is probable because they took it easy in the early rounds of the Olympics."
"The level is really high at the moment in a women's singles as well. There are a lot of players who are doing really well and playing good badminton and I've got to be prepared for everything."
Upon being asked about the drift at the arena, Sindhu said.
"It was the same almost every day but today I was making a few more errors competitively than before."
He Bingjiao, Sindhu's next opponent, leads the Indian 9-6 in head-to-head encounters. However, Sindhu defeated He Bingjiao in their last encounter in the 2019 BWF World Tour Finals.