PBL 2018: PV Sindhu’s eight-match winning streak comes to an end with loss to Sung Ji Hyun
PV Sindhu squandered a one-game lead to slump to defeat in a thriller
What’s the story?
PV Sindhu’s sizzling eight-match winning streak came to an end when the Chennai Smashers star suffered a defeat at the hands of the Delhi Dashers’ Sung Ji Hyun at the Babu Banarasi Das U.P. Badminton Academy in Lucknow on Wednesday. The World No. 3 went down fighting 15-11, 13-15, 14-15 to the sixth-ranked Korean ace in a thrilling women’s singles clash.
The defeat proved costly as the Sindhu-led Chennai Smashers were beaten 0-3 by the Season 1 champions after Chennai had to concede the mixed doubles match following Gabrielle Adcock’s ankle injury.
In case you didn’t know
Sindhu’s winning streak began in the last season of the PBL after her defeat to the Olympic champion Carolina Marin. She went on a run of six consecutive wins, two of which were over her Wednesday night conqueror, Sung.
The 22-year-old added two more wins this season to take the total number to eight.
The heart of the matter
The Rio Olympic silver medallist began the match in promising fashion and showed her attacking prowess to take the opening game. But the Korean’s patience helped her back in this match.
The second game remained evenly poised till 10-10 after which the Korean bagged three quick points to race ahead to 13-10, before forcing a decider. In the third game, Sindhu brought forth her aggressive game to set up an early lead.
A 305kmph winner down the line put her 4-1 ahead. However, Sung remained unfazed and steadily blunted Sindhu’s attack with an array of slice shots that landed just inside the sideline. The World No. 6 levelled matters at 8-8 and there was not much to separate the players till 11-11.
Sung then produced her incredible defensive game to win a 33-shot rally and marched ahead. By taking the shuttle early, she surprised the Indian and surged ahead to 14-11 with a host of match points in hand.
In a tense and exciting finish to the match, Sindhu saved all three match points and equalized the score at 14-14. But her valiant effort went in vain when she hit the shuttle long on golden point to concede the match to Sung, who squealed in delight.
The Chennai Smashers will look to push aside this setback when they take on the Ahmedabad Smash Masters at home on January 6.
Sindhu shouldn’t be worrying about the streak but the loss is a good wake-up call ahead of the 2018 season on the BWF circuit. This match is certain to provide Sindhu with a lot of pointers as she gears up to face the biggest stars in the new season.