PV Sindhu was up in the final of a badminton tournament again. She was carrying excessive emotional baggage. In seven finals, since her win in the Korea Open, she had suffered defeats in the final. Each defeat more heart-breaking. With each loss, there were questions raised on whether Sindhu had the mettle or the attitude to perform under pressure in a high-stake final. With each loss, badminton fans were starting to believe that Sindhu would be the proverbial bridesmaid in every tournament. However, Sindhu showed her mettle and class when it mattered the most. After overcoming the odds in the year-ending Badminton World Tour Finals, Sindhu saved her last for the best when she overcame Nozomi Okuhara 21-19,21-17 to break her finals hoodoo and become the first Indian shuttler to win this tournament.
Speaking after the end of the tournament, Sindhu said the win has taken a lot out of her emotionally and it reflected when she screamed with joy after winning the final point. “Somewhere, every time people have been asking the same question. I think the question won’t come again to me, asking why all the time I lose in the finals. I can say now that I have won the gold and I am really very proud of it. No words, it’s been a wonderful tournament for me and it’s also the year end. I am really very proud. The year has ended on a beautiful note,” Sindhu said after the end of the match.
Sindhu had a really good tournament and it began in grand style when she finally broke her jinx against world no 1 Tai Tzu Ying with a come-from-behind win in a thriller. After six successive losses in 13 meetings, Sindhu got the better of her nemesis 14-21 21-16 21-18. In the semis, she beat 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon in a tense semifinal to emerge victorious 21-16 25-23. However, it was her win against Akane Yamaguchi that gave her the mental space to do well.
Sindhu credited her opponents fight but it was sweet revenge for her, after having lost the 2017 World Tour Finals to the same opponent in Dubai. “Whenever I play against Okuhara or Yamaguchi, I never think it’s going to be easy. Every time we go into the court, it’s going to be tough. Today each point was important, we had (rallies of) 30 strokes, 40 strokes. It’s not easy to play against the Japanese. Okuhara played well but I just gave 100% and played all out today,” Sindhu said.
The year has ended in grand style for Sindhu, who had won the Korea Open in 2017. After that, she lost in the final of the Hong Kong Open to Tai Tzu Ying and in the Super Series Final to Yamaguchi. Her heartbreak continued when she lost in the Indian Open to Beiwen Zhang and in the 2018 Commonwealth Games final to Saina Nehwal. In the Thailand Open, she lost to Okuhara and in the World Championships, she suffered heartbreak against Carolina Marin, against whom she had lost in the final of the Rio Olympics in 2016. After suffering yet another heartbreak against Tai Tzu Ying in the Asian Games, Sindhu has dispelled the pain in grand style.