PV Sindhu's splendid run was halted by Sayaka Takahashi in the semi-finals at the French Open badminton tournament in Paris on Saturday. PV Sindhu squandered a flying start to bow out in three games in the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament.
Third seed Sindhu won the first game but the unseeded Japanese staged a remarkable recovery with a hard-fought 18-21, 21-16, 21-12 win. The marathon women’s singles semis lasted an hour and 8 minutes, testing the physical and mental abilities of both players.
World No. 7 Sindhu had a 4-3 head-to-head lead over Sayaka heading into the match. However, world No. 15 Sayaka Takahashi had the psychological advantage with her having beaten Sindhu in their last encounter at the Indonesia Masters last year.
Takahashi, a bronze medallist at the 2013 and 2014 Asian Championships, dished out a wonderful display of attacking shots and accurate placements to surprise Sindhu.
29-year-old Takahashi will now clash with top seed Akane Yamaguchi in the all-Japan final on Sunday. The diminutive Yamaguchi thumped fourth seed An Seyoung of Korea 21-13, 10-21, 21-18 in the other pulsating semi.
Sindhu fails to reach final for second tournament in a row post Tokyo Olympics
Reigning world champion Sindhu has not reached the final for the second tournament in a row. The Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist took a break and skipped the Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup to recharge her batteries.
However, Sindhu lost in the quarter-finals at the Denmark Open last week in Odense. She lost 11-21, 12-21 to fifth seed Korea’s An Seyoung last Friday. She did slightly better by making it to the semis in Paris.
26-year-old Sindhu started the match on a rousing note, giving plenty of hope to her fans. Both Sindhu and Takahashi tried to outwit each other with their attacking shots and smart net play. Sindhu maintained her dominance to claim the first game of 21-18.
In the second game, Takahashi raised her level of play to put pressure on Sindhu. The experienced Japanese forced the decider by pocketing the second game 21-16.
Sindhu did not have a good start in the decider as the Japanese maintained her tempo. Sindhu was trailing 6-11 at the break. After the mandatory change of ends, Sindhu seemed to have lost steam and caved in meekly.