NEW DELHI: If there was any doubt who the undisputed Indian queen of badminton is, PV Sindhu, put that to rest by beating Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the women’s singles final to win her maiden India open super series title on Sunday.
Everyone witnessed the end of an era in Indian badminton and the start of a vibrant new one.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu’s commanding final victory over Spain’s reigning world, Olympic and European champion Carolina Marin, two days after a straight-sets quarter-final triumph over fellow countrywoman Saina Nehwal, did indicate that Saina’s eight-year reign as the undisputed queen of Indian badminton has come to an end, and that her willowy compatriot has lain claim to the crown.
Sindhu, who won the TOISA badminton player of the year as well as overall player of the year awards, avenged her Olympic final defeat to Marin in an imperious fashion with a straight game 21-19, 21-16 win at a packed Siri fort sports complex. In a pulsating contest, which was a repeat of the Rio Olympic final where the Spaniard prevailed in three games, Sindhu put up an all-round show in front of the home fans.
Sindhu, who had hovered at around the 9th to 12th spot for the most part of 2016, has made a strong dash up the rankings in the opening weeks of 2017, and has an outstanding chance of powering past Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun (whom she ousted in the semi-finals of the India Open) and also displacing Marin from the No.2 spot behind Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying when the world rankings are next announced.
The Spanish left-hander had opened up a 5-2 career head-to-head lead over Sindhu at the end of the Rio Olympics but has since been reined into 5-4, with Sindhu winning their last two meetings in the 2016 Dubai Super Series year-ending grand finals and now in the 2017 India Open. Revenge has been gained twice over, but one cannot help a lingering feeling of regret that these sterling performances have come in a bit too late to net India its first Olympic badminton gold.
In the event, the Indian only suffered a hiccup in the second game against Sung, producing a string of unforced errors when she played with the drift in the stadium and pushed a number of shuttles out at the baseline. In the decider, however, the physically fitter Sindhu took a vice-like grip on the match at the midway stage itself and did not relent in the closing reaches, letting her superior stamina weigh in the balance against the Korean, for a 21-18, 14-21, 21-14 verdict.
Then, in the final reckoning against the noisy, vociferous Marin, in a clash which had taken on all the hues of a grudge match, Sindhu hit peak form, moving beautifully on the court to prevent the Spanish southpaw from gaining
ascendancy with her own speed. The Indian’s shuttle control was exemplary, as Marin rarely got an opportunity to get under or behind the shuttle to execute her deceptive left-handed slices and drops.
Sindhu also reached the net quicker than when she had played Marin in the Olympics – a tactic that allowed her to produce tighter net dribbles, making contact with the bird at a higher point from the floor than earlier, and still retaining the flexibility of using the late flick clear. She used her height even better than she had done in the Olympics, especially while playing the overhead shots from the backhand side. She did not over-use the overhead crosscourt smash, since it would travel to Marin’s forehand side, decidedly her stronger flank.
One more Sindhu attribute that was noticed by badminton buffs throughout the tournament – her ability to stay calm in the face of adversity, perhaps even employing a touch of gamesmanship. She repeatedly held her left hand up, making Marin, who uses the minimal time between points, wait a few seconds extra before serving, and thereby inducing an undercurrent of irritation in the world champion’s mien.
Yes from this we can say that she is much stronger tougher smarter and quicker than the last time, now the thing that we have to see that how Sindhu is going to evolve herself in the near future.