PV Sindhu thwarts Carolina Marin’s India Open dreams, wins finals

One year ago, a billion hearts were thudding away, eyes glued to the screen, ears tuned to the speakers, in the hope of the announcement of an Olympic Gold. The first Olympic Gold for Women’s Badminton for India. Alas, that was an evening of dashed hopes as Spaniard Carolina Marin snatched the Gold from India’s PV Sindhu. Sindhu, and the Indian fans had to be content with the Olympic Silver.

A great achievement, to be placed second. Admirable even, as this was India’s first silver in Olympics Badminton events. But that visceral need, to conquer the rival and walk away with the glory remained.

PV Sindhu got the chance to avenge her defeat in the BWF Dubai Super Series in 2016. She gave as good as she got, and defeated Marin to enter the Semis. And yesterday, she had another chance to make up for the Olympic (pun intended) loss, at the finals of the India Open, held at New Delhi.

Sindhu beat Carolina Marin to win the India Open title with a score of 21-19, 21-16. She gave Marin no room to attack, slashing and smashing her way to a buildup of points. Her aggressive stance worked in her favor, as she was crowned the winner.

PV Sindhu

Then vs Now

This is a brief comparison of the Olympic final and yesterday’s match between the rivals.

Match

Olympics finals

India Opens Finals

Game 1

19-21

21-19
Game 2 21-12

21-16

Game 3

21-15

 

In the Olympics, it was Marin who had gained the early points, leaving Sindhu to run around the court to add points to her kitty. In yesterday’s match though, it was Marin who had to deal with Sindhu’s attacking game. The Indian shuttler proved her prowess, sizzling the court with her epic smashes. Marin made a brief comeback but couldn’t prevail, as Sindhu slowly but steadily tipped the game in her favor.

Sindhu was a ball of nerves in the Olympic finals. But yesterday, she was a force to reckon with for the Spaniard.

The second match saw Sindhu lapping up points. Her dominating demeanor gave Marin no room for advantage. She ended long rallies with powerful smashes that the World No 3 couldn’t match. Sindhu was leading with 20-15, due to Marin’s mistake-ridden game. Marin, in a last-ditched effort, to salvage the game asked for a new shuttle, but then committed another unenforced error, which cost her the game. The exact opposite had happened in the Olympics, where it was Sindhu’s string of unenforced errors that cost her the second game. This gave the Spaniard the 20-14 lead in the battle for the gold, when she went in for the kill.

Shift in Strategy?

Sindhu has made strategic changes to her game since the Olympics defeat, being more attacking and playing expert strokes, leaving less room for unenforced errors.

She met Marin at the Premier Badminton League matches too, but since those were 11-point matches, it was not a great way to estimate fitness. Yesterday’s epic win however, has dispelled any doubts whatsoever on who’s playing the top game.

Effect on World Rankings

This win also shuttled Sindhu’s position in the World rankings to the top echelons. Sindhu, ranked No 5 now, will be ranked higher in the latest Women’s Badminton rankings expected to be released soon. Previously World No 1, Marin now holds the third spot.

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