Tai Tzu too good for Sindhu

No Indian had ever reached the final of a singles event at the Asian Games before the 23-year-old from Hyderabad, who lost 13-21, 16-21 to Chinese Taipei’s Tai in just 34 minutes.

Having lost previous five encounters to Tai, World No. 3 Sindhu needed to punch above her weight to tackle the Chinese Taipei ace.   -  AP

One could virtually notice the many little question marks floating above P. V. Sindhu’s head as she moved this way and that trying to figure out Tai Tzu Ying.

As Saina Nehwal had said earlier, the Taipei star’s deceptive play could often leave opponents in a daze.

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Sindhu has had a wonderful journey here in Jakarta, just as she had at the recent Worlds in Nanjing, and it brought the country its first badminton silver at the Asian Games here but there was very little she could have done on Tuesday against the World’s No. 1 player in the women’s singles final. Tai Tzu was clearly in another higher zone as she defeated the Indian World No. 3 21-13, 21-16.

Earlier World No. 15 Jonatan Christie, clearly inspired by the packed home stadium, defeated Taipei’s World No. 6 Chou Tien Chen 21-18, 20-22, 21-15 to bring the men’s singles title back to Indonesia after 12 years. Former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat was the last Indonesian player to win the gold, in Doha in 2006.

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Apart from keeping Sindhu guessing virtually all through the 36-minute encounter, Tai Tzu did not allow the Indian much room to operate, to execute her smashes or to settle down. No wonder Sindhu had a dismal 3-9 head-to-head win-loss record against her.

And the 24-year-old Taipei star had so many weapons in her armoury that she could virtually change her strategy from point to point.

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As she raced to a 5-0 lead in the opener, she was repeatedly targeting Sindhu’s forehand even as the Worlds silver medallist kept worrying when she would be forced to scamper to the other side to handle a soft drop. A little later, Tai Tzu was targeting the Indian’s body forcing her to go for some awkward strokes. There were some smart passing shots, round the head shots, nice flicks, lifts and some very deceptive drops.

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Sindhu won her first point with a drop and the next two through Tai Tzu’s mistakes. That was the pattern for much of the match. The World No. 1 had large leads all through and appeared relaxed.

There was one phase in the second game when Sindhu levelled at four but Tai Tzu used the lift and her deceptive round the head shot to move the Indian back and front and soon raced to a 9-5 lead and never looked back.

 

“She has every stroke, she is a deceptive player, a very attacking player. She is completely different, whether she is playing a toss or a smash or a drop, she is very deceptive,” said Sindhu.

“I should not have given her continuous points, I should have tried to break her rhythm."