India Open: Sindhu to meet Marin for the title

P.V Sindhu defeated Sung Ji Hyun 21-18, 14-21, 21-14 to reach the final of the India Open Super Series.

India's Pusaria V. Sindhu plays a shot against South Korea's Sung Ji Hyun during their women's singles semifinal badminton match at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2017.   -  AFP

P. V. Sindhu is clearly riding high. Within 24 hours after taming Saina Nehwal, the Olympic silver-medallist battled for 76 minutes to outsmart second seed Sung Ji Hyun and set up a repeat clash of the Rio Olympic Games final with Carolina Marin in the Yonex Indian Open title-clash on Sunday.

A noisy crowd at the Siri Fort Complex played its part to the hilt and backed the third seeded Indian all the way to a 21-18, 14-21, 21-14 triumph over Sung who is considered the most consistent top-10 player in the world.

Earlier, the men’s singles final line-up was ready, with third seeded Dane Victor Axelsen to face Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen, seeded seven. Interestingly, it was also decided that the men's doubles title would go to Indonesia (Ricky Karandasuwardi and Angga Pratama to face Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo) , the ladies doubles to Japan (Shijo Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto to face Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao)  and mixed doubles to China (Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen to face Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong).

On this day, Sindhu needed a second wind even after leading 11-4 at the mid-game interval of the decider. Sung, returning to the court from where she won the second game, quickly made it 10-12 and Sindhu, for once was clearly worried. After all, this was the closest Sung managed to get in the crucial game.

This was the most crucial phase of the match and Sindhu got her act right. Sindhu returned to attacking ways, showed that she was ready to rally, and moved her rival around. By winning the points in a variety of ways, she once enlarged her lead and completed an emphatic victory.
In terms of statistics, this was Sindhu’s seventh victory over Sung in 11 meetings and fourth in the last six clashes since January 2016. The last time the two met, Sung prevailed in the 2016 Dubai World superseries Finals.

“With Sung, it is always close and I came prepared for it. She is a rally-player and that’s why there were hardly any easy points during the contest. Even though I was ahead in the decider, I was not sure winning easily. Sung can bounce back from any stage. Last time (in Dubai), I had a lead in the decider and lost at 21-19. So I never took it easy at any point,” said Sindhu, reflecting on the victory.

Looking ahead to the final against Carolina, Sindhu said, “we are very good friends. She is a very nice person. But on the court, it was will be tough battle. I hope the crowd supports me (on Sunday) though I heard many supporting Carolina during her semifinals.”

When asked who was likely to win their ‘screaming battle’ in the final, Sindhu laughed and said, “I think, I am the one who is going to scream more.”

The results (Semifinal, prefix denotes seeding):
3-Victor Axelsen (Den) bt Ng Ka Long Angus (Hkg) 21-12, 21-13; 7-Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) bt Anders Antonsen (Den) 21-17, 21-14.
Women: 1-Carolina Marin (Esp) bt 4-Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) 21-16, 21-14; 3-P. V. Sindhu bt 2-Sung Ji Hyun (Kor) 21-18, 14-21, 21-14.
Men doubles: 6-Ricky Karandasuwardi and Angga Pratama (Ina) bt Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen (Chn) 21-16, 13-21, 21-16; 4-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt 7-Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding (Den) 21-14, 18-21, 21-9.
Women doubles:
7-Shijo Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto (Jpn) bt Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan (Kor) 21-16, 19-21, 24-22; 3-Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao (Jpn) bt Yuku Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) 21-16, 21-13.
Mixed doubles: 1-Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen (Chn) received a walkover from Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh (Mal); 2-Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock (Eng) 21-13, 21-13.

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