For over 15 months now, P. V. Sindhu is searching for a way to solve a Chinese puzzle called He Bingjiao.
On Saturday, she looked well on way to snap the three-match losing streak to the left-hander but eventually crashed to a frustrating, straight-game defeat in the women semifinals of the India Open badminton.
The 23-21, 21-18 verdict was the reward for Bingjiao’s never-say-die approach as she bounced back from 13-19 and 16-20 to save five-game points. During the last few points, Bingjiao’s returns kissed the net-chord twice, rolled over the net as Sindhu watched helplessly.
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In the second game, the Chinese girl rallied from 13-16 before reeling off the last four points as Sindhu erred repeatedly in exasperation.
“After losing the first game I was a bit nervous. I came back and could’ve maintained the 14-11 lead, but she played really well. I could’ve been much more patient,” admitted Sindhu.
Before Bingjiao set up the title-clash with former World champion Ratchanok Intanon, Kidambi Srikanth gave the vociferous crowd a reason to return on Sunday.
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Once again this week, Srikanth woke up after losing the opening game and looked increasingly better. In a battle lasting just over an hour, Srikanth got the measure of an unseeded but speedy Chinese Huang Yuxing.
The match saw Srikanth raise the bar when the chips were down. After losing the opening game, he opened big leads in the second to level the match.
In the decider, Huang showed he was not intimidated by the Indian. He broke away from 11-all to lead 18-16. It was here that Srikanth displayed controlled aggression to win five out of the last six points for a place in the final.
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“I gave too many easy points after that 11-point break in the third set. In the end, I was just thinking I was playing safe and working hard for every point,” said Srikanth and continued, “I have not been able to pull out the first sets but really happy I was able to pull
out third sets.”
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