Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu avenged her heart-breaking loss at the Rio Games to two-time World Champion Carolina Marin with a thrilling straight-game victory in a do-or-die women's singles Group B contest and sealed her place at the semifinals of the BWF World Super Series Finals in Dubai on Friday.
In a much-anticipated contest, Sindhu came up trump sagainst the Olympic champion Marin, who had spoiled her gold medal dream at Rio in August. The Indian dished out an energetic performance to see off a fighting Marin 21-17 21-13 in a hard-fought battle that lasted 46 minutes.
A former World No. 1 Marin, who held a 5-2 head to headrecord, tried to play an aggressive fast-paced game and pumped herself with each point, letting out a war cry but Sindhu was equally up for the battle of nerves and she showed tremendous grit and nerves to emerge victories in a crucial contest.
With this win, Sindhu finished in the second place behind China's Sun Yu, who won all the three matches, in Group B. Both the players started with an aggressive rally and even though Sindhu had a 2-0 lead early on, Marin soon turnedthe tables at 4-3 when the Indian hit long. The Spaniard madeit 7-3 with Sindhu playing a few nervous strokes.
However, Sindhu changed her approach and got hold of her nerves and reeled off five points to lead 8-7. But again two long shots from Sindhu and Marin was 9-8 up. The left-handed Marin soon came up with a sharp smash which an outstretched Sindhu could not connect. But the Indian immediately produced three straight points and entered thebreak with a slender 11-10 lead after producing a superb crosscourt smash which found Marin napping.
A lucky net chord helped Sindhu to lead 13-12 after thebreak which she swelled to 16-12 with Marin finding the netand hitting long. The duo continued to battle hard and engaged in some fast paced rallies with each trying to outdo the other with sharpacute angled strokes. Eventually Sindhu grabbed six game pointa dvantage when Marin missed the baseline. The Spaniard savedthree points before the Indian sealed the game with a superbsmash.
Marin needed medical treatment for what seemed like abruise in her feet before the start of the second game. The Spaniard used her deceptive returns to put Sindhu introuble and opened up a 3-1 lead which the Indian soon erasedand grabbed a 5-3 advantage after another excruciating rally.
Sindhu tried to keep her opponent away from the net and kept tossing the shuttle at the back of the court. The ploy seemed to work as Marin committed errors while trying to use deception to break the rhythm.
Sindhu was equally athletic on court as she stretched,jumped and dived all across to cover the court and entered theinterval with an 11-6 lead after Marin sent the shuttle widetwice.
At 13-7, Sindhu missed the sidelines and coach PullelaGopichand tried to calm her down. With Marin continuing tostruggle with her strokes, Sindhu soon lead 17-10 andeventually grabbed a 21-13 match point advantage when Marin hit long after another exciting rally. The Indian then sealedthe match as the Spaniard found the net again.