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Sindhu losses to underdog Beiwen at the India Open finals; settles for silver

By: Swetha
Date: 05 Feb, 2018
Image Courtesy: PBL Facebook

In the summit clash at the India Open, defending champion PV Sindhu lost to world no. 11 Beiwen Zhang of USA at Siri Fort Complex in Delhi on Sunday. While in the men’s singles, Shi Yuqi became the first Chinese player to win the India Open men's singles badminton title, defeating Chou Tien Chen.

It took one hour and nine minutes for the Indian to close the match with 18-21, 21-11, 20-22, besides, it is the first major title for the 5th seeded American.

The opening game started with the even terms as both the players exchanged the points regularly till 5-5. Sindhu was with three points advantage by the half time with 11-9, and continued the lead till 15-14, before fifth seed Zhang took advantage of the Indian's unforced errors to put herself in the lead. Zhang gave a chance to Sindhu, yet, eventually the American wrapped the first game in 22 minutes.

The second game was similarly scripted as the first with the players’ combat for the points till 2-2. Sindhu surged ahead after with six consecutive points with 8-2 and then broke the break with the high of 11-4 lead.

After the break, Sindhu with her back-to-back body smashes and angled stretched returns, soon she turned the points to her favour with 18-10 and then took the game to push the match to the decider.

The final game was nothing less than each other’s spirit towards the title. With the exchange of points to level the score, the duo made the score 3-3, from where the American won six straight points. Sindhu bounced back to make it 9-10 but went into the final mid-game break trailing 9-11.

Sindhu continued the momentum shift to level the decider 11-11 after the break. By 15-15, both the players looked weary, from where Sindhu’s game started slipping to Zhang, as the latter won three successive points to lead the decider 17-15. But the match was not over yet, as Sindhu reduced the gap to one point, 18-19, with some smart court play. A body smash from the net took Sindhu to 19-19 and then to match point soon afterward, before Zhang levelled it 20-20.

A cross-court smash gave Zhang the all important match point and she made it count by winning the deciding game 22-20.

Zhang said, “I had nothing to lose and pressure was on Sindhu. I played a lot of smashes and an attacking game which I generally don't. This is my first major title and I am really happy. I guess it is the best moment of my career.”

In the men’s singles match, Shi Yuqi became the first Chinese player to win the India Open men's singles badminton title, defeating Chou Tien Chen in the final. Fourth-seed Shi overcame tough resistance from Chou, seeded third, to win the clash 21-18, 21-14 in 47 minutes.

It was 21-year-old Shi's fourth major career title, after he won the France SuperSeries 2016 and two Grand Prix gold medals.

World no. 8  Shi Yuqi said, “Last year I didn't win any tournament, so glad to win this and hope this (is the) first of many to come.”

Previously, Indian mixed doubles pair Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost to Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen in the semi-finals of the tournament on Saturday.

The Danish duo surged towards the 8-3 lead in the first game, but the Indian pair reduced the gapto 9-11 at the breather.  

After the interval, Sikki's return found their rivals napping as they clawed back at 12-12. However, Mathias and Christinna managed to move to a 19-15 lead before sealing the opening game when Pranaav's return went to net.

Both the pairs shared five points each to make 5-5 before the Danish entered the vreak with a 11-8 lead. Before Sikki’s smash to level the score at 13-13, the Indian pair kept breathing down their rivals neck. Mathais and Christinna moved ahead again before India won a video referrel to make it 15-15. They moved together 18-18 before Pranaav made a service errors and then his return got buried at the net as the Danish duo had two match points. But they hit out next before Pranaav sent the shuttle out to end their campaign.

Final results:

Men’s Singles: Shi Yuqi beat Chou Tien Chen with 21-14, 21-15

Women’s Singles: Beiwen Zhang beat PV Sindhu with 21-18, 11-21, 22-20

Men’s Doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo beat Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen with 21-14, 21-16

Women’s Doubles: Greysia Polii/Apriyani beat Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai with 21-18, 21-15

Mixed Doubles: Mathias Christiansen/Christinna Pedersen beat Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti with 21-14, 21-15

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