PV Sindhu finally ended her 2018 in grand style and extracted sweet revenge on Nozomi Okuhara as she won the 2018 Badminton World Tour Finals in style with a 21-19, 21-17 win over the Japanese in the final which lasted an hour in Guangzhou on Sunday. In the 2017 edition of the tournament in Dubai, Sindhu had lost to Okuhara in a titanic battle 19-21, 22-20, 20-22. Heading into the final, Sindhu had lost in many world finals in the past couple of years and she was determined to ensure that she had won something on the world stage after a tough year. The Hyderabad youngster showed her mettle and signalled her intentions by adopting an aggressive approach against the Japanese player, whom she had a 6-6 head-to-head record heading into the contest.
Sindhu started off the first game in style by winning five consecutive points but Okuhara pulled it back slightly. The Indian shuttler maintained the momentum and built a four-point lead. Sindhu continued to apply pressure on the Japanese, ranked No.2 in the world, by stretching her lead to eight points. Okuhara launched a fightback and won four consecutive points as she closed the gap to two points. The Japanese sustained the momentum and at 16-16, it was anybody's game.
Read More | PV Sindhu enters Badminton World Tour Finals
However, Sindhu held her nerve and notched up three straight points but Okuhara refused to give up. In the end, at 20-19, Sindhu finally got the better of her opponent and won the first game 21-19 after an epic 29-minute battle.
Sindhu started off brilliantly in the second game as well as she won three consecutive points but unlike in the first game, Okuhara did not let Sindhu get away. The Indian led 7-6 and one slip-up could prove to be costly. It proved to be an even battle, with Okuhara maintaing the pressure on Sindhu but the Indian maintained her slender one-point lead. The second game proved to be a tight contest with both players not yielding an inch. Sindhu stretched her lead to three points but she had to maintain her composure to thwart the pressure that was being built by Okuhara. However, Sindhu held her nerve and closed the game out 21-17 to become the first Indian player to win the year-ending World Tour Finals championship.
Sindhu had breezed into the summit clash of the World Tour Finals for the second successive time after prevailing over 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon in a tense semifinal. Sindhu, who finished runner-up at the last edition, staved off a strong challenge from the fighting Thai to emerge a 21-16 25-23 winner in 54 minutes. The 23-year-old Indian came into the match with a 3-4 record against the Thai player but Sindhu was buoyed by her recent results as she has not lost to Intanon in the last two years.
The Indian shuttler had finally broke her jinx against world no 1 Tai Tzu Ying with a come-from-behind win in a thriller, while Sameer Verma outclassed Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto at the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou. After six successive losses in 13 meetings, Sindhu got the better of her nemesis Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 14-21 21-16 21-18 in a Group A match that lasted a little over an hour. It was Sindhu's first win over Asian Games champion Tzu Ying since the 2016 Rio Olympics.
However, it was her win against world number two and defending champion Akane Yamaguchi in the opening women's singles group A match of the World Tour Finals that set the tone for her campaign. Sindhu, who had finished runner-up at the last edition in Dubai, dished out a superb game, mixed with patience and aggression, to defeat the Japanese 24-22 21-15.