P.V. Sindhu clinches her first Syed Modi Int'l title

P. V. Sindhu won her first Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold title as she defeated Gregoria Mariska 21-13, 21-14 on Sunday at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium here.

P.V. Sindhu

P. V. Sindhu didn't break any sweat as she took just 30 minutes to outplay Mariska for her maiden Syed Modi title.   -  PTI

All five finals ending in straight games meant excitement was at a premium. As it turned out, favourite P. V. Sindhu, National champion Sameer Verma apart from the second seed duo of Pranav Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy made the most of an otherwise depleted field and walked away victorious in the $120,000 Syed Modi International badminton championship here on Sunday.

Sindhu’s triumph this week was never in doubt after Saina Nehwal’s withdrawal on the eve of this Grand Prix Gold event. Much like Saina in Kuala Lumpur, Sindhu stayed on cruise mode all week and ended her campaign past unseeded Indonesian teenager Greogria Mariska in 30 minutes.

After dropping the first point of the final, Sindhu never trailed as she gave the crowd what it had come to watch. In any case, a clash involving World No. nine Sindhu and her 120th ranked rival was expected to be a mismatch. Mercifully, this no-contest proved the shortest final of the day.

“First the Premier Badminton League and now a Grand Prix Gold title, I’m glad to start the year with victories,” said Sindhu, richer by $9000, before rushing to the airport.

Verma, finalist to Hong Kong Open superseries last November, and B. Sai Praneeth are sparring partners at the Gopi Chand Academy in Hyderabad. Having lost a close National final to Praneeth in February 2015, Verma settled the score in style for the $9000 winner’s share.

Verma, trailing 5-14 in the first game and 5-11 in the second, shifted gears to slow down the pace. He kept the shuttle in play, mixed up his attacking forehand with some very consistent retrieving from the backhand court. Sai, like in the opener, seems to lose belief in his ability to close out the game.

After gaining handy leads, Sai waited for things to happen instead of making them happen. When Verma did not give any negative points, Sai grew frustrated. He not only netted a few returns but his judgement of the shuttle falling on the backline also backfired a few times.

Late in the second game, Sai didn’t even reach the shuttle on his forehand, giving an indication of a troubled shoulder. Sensing his chance, Verma broke away from 14-14 to make it 20-14. Sai saved two championship-points before Verma’s forehand smash settled the title.

In the mixed doubles final, Sikki found herself in a rarely-felt ‘comfort zone’. She had partner Chopra on her side, and across the net, stood her would-be life-partner B. Sumeeth Reddy and her women doubles partner, Ashwini.

After some thrilling moments in the first game, the final turned out to be damp squib once the Chopra-Sikki duo rallied from 11-17 to snatch the game and led 16-6 in the second.

Earlier, Denmark expectedly win the women’s doubles and men’s doubles titles in keeping with their rankings. The World No. 2 Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen needed 38 minutes to pack off Ashwini-Sikki pair 21-16, 21-18. What followed was another one-sided match with World No. 3 Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen dismissing Chinese Taipei’s Lu Ching Yao and Lu Ching Yao 21-14, 21-15.

Final results (Indians unless stated; prefix denotes seeding);

Men: 8-Sameer Verma bt 9-B. Sai Praneeth 21-19, 21-16.

Women: 1-P. V. Sindhu bt Gregoria Mariska (Ina) 21-13, 21-13.

Men doubles: 1-Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen (Den) bt 8-Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han (Tpe) 21-14, 21-15.

Women doubles: 1-Kamila Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy 21-16, 21-18.

Mixed doubles: 2-Pranav Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy bt 7-B. Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa 22-20, 21-10.

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