PV Sindhu lost to her old nemesis Carolina Marin of Spain in three games in an ill-tempered semifinal of the Denmark Open Super 750 tournament, which saw both players receive yellow cards for verbal exchanges, in Odense on Saturday.
Sindhu, who has been struggling the whole season, lost 18-21, 21-19, 7-21 in the match that lasted one hour and 13 minutes. This was Sindhu’s fifth loss on the trot against Marin who had beaten the Indian in that memorable 2016 Rio Olympics final as well as the 2018 World Championships summit clash.
World number 12 Sindhu and Marin, currently ranked sixth, had earlier talked about good camaraderie between them but they showed none of it on the court on Saturday.
Both were warned verbally by the umpire multiple times before being shown yellow cards in the deciding game. The umpire initially called both the players to tone down their celebrations after winning points.
But Marin continued to scream and celebrate while Sindhu was warned twice for taking longer time in receiving serve. Marin was warned twice for loud celebrations after taking the first game 21-18.
In the decider after Sindhu won the second game, the umpire warned the Indian to be ready to receive serve quickly. At that point, Sinhdu was heard saying ‘you allowed her to shout, so you ask her and then I will be ready’.
Just after that, the shuttle fell on Sindhu’s court and both reached to pick it, leading to another verbal altercation. The chair umpire called both the players and flashed yellow cards to them. Marin was also told not to pick shuttle from Sindhu’s side.
Sindhu said her opponent “was wrong on her part” but added that rivalries are good for the sport.
“Whenever we play, there are some other things going on on court, so yeah... a lot of people talk about it. It feels good that the competition is always high and the rivalry should be there because that’s how the sport grows,” said Sindhu.
“But today, I think, it was a bit more rivalry in the court but I just thought she (Marin) was wrong on her part.” In the first game, the two were locked 3-3 and then 7-7. Moments of brilliance were followed by odd errors from both as the score read 18-18.
In the first game, the two were locked 3-3 and then 7-7. Moments of brilliance were followed by odd errors from both as the score read 18-18.
The Spaniard then unleashed a body smash and grabbed two games points when Sindhu’s backhand hit the net and followed it with a powerful smash to earn the bragging rights.
Sindhu, who had famously hugged Marin after the Rio Olympics final defeat, had a solid strength to the second game, leading 6-2. The Indian zoomed 10-3 ahead as she showed better control at the net, while Marin was too erratic.
After the interval, Marin took the initiative and soon the rallies got shorter and faster with the Spaniard producing the winners with solid net-play.
Sindhu ended a stretch of seven straight points after winning a fast exchange to maintain the 12-10 lead. Sindhu then had four game points at 20-16. Marin saved three before Sindhu sealed it with a smash to take the match to the decider.
It was Marin who took the initiative in the decider, moving to 3-0 and then 8-2.
Marin was 14-3 up and around that time both were shown yellow cards for engaging in a verbal duel. The incident seemed to rattle Sindhu as nothing went her way and it was one way traffic. Soon, Marin ended Sindhu’s misery after having 13 match points.
Sindhu had also reached the semifinals at the Arctic Open Super 500 last week in Finland.
“It is a good start. I would say, the European circuit, the Arctic Open and the Denmark Open. I couldn’t go to the finals but playing in the semifinals, I’m slowly improving myself. It is in itself a big boost for me and gives me a lot of confidence. A lot of positives to take from here,” added Sindhu.
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