Sindhu’s dream run over

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Mar 2018 10:01:21




PV SINDHU’S run at the All England Open came to an end after she lost 21-19, 19-21, 18-21 against world No 2 Akane Yamaguchi in the semi-finals on Saturday.Sindhu got off to a blazing start and won the first six points of the match before Yamaguchi got herself on the scoreboard after a long rally. Sindhu made a conscious attempt to keep the points short and that strategy seemed to pay dividends in the early exchanges as Yamaguchi was wrong-footed on more than one occasion.Yamaguchi then mixed up the pace of play by playing a lot of drop shots, in the process making the tall Sindhu lunge forward often. Sindhu had a six-point advantage at the changeover in the first game after Yamaguchi hit a forehand wide.

Despite spending a significantly longer time than Yamaguchi on court in the tournament, Sindhu showed no signs of fatigue as Yamaguchi, who is 23 cms shorter than Sindhu, struggled to match Sindhu’s power. Sindhu maintained a six point lead till 17-11 but Yamaguchi won the next six points to level scores at 17-17 as she employed her crosscourt drops to great effect.

Yamaguchi failed to capitalise on that though as she lost the next two points through unforced errors before Sindhu won the opening game after converting her second game point opportunity. The second game saw a more even contest as both players stayed level till 9-9 before Yamaguchi won the next two points with a crosscourt jump smash and a crosscourt drop to lead 11-9 at the changeover.However, Sindhu did extremely well to stay in touching distance of Yamaguchi and managed to reduce the deficit to a point at 13-14 but Yamaguchi won a 44-shot rally that changed the momentum of the game. Sindhu continued to apply the pressure on Yamaguchi, who dictated most of the play but also committed a higher number of errors.

Yamaguchi finally had two game point opportunities at 20-18 after Sindhu’s forehand sailed out of play and then closed out the game after benefiting from a net chord at 20-19.Fatigue finally seemed to be catching up with Sindhu in the deciding game as she made a few uncharacteristic unforced errors but her customary grit and resilience kept her going as she led 11-7 at the changeover after a thunderous smash. She then extended the lead to six points at 13-7.

Yamaguchi continued to fight and drew level eventually and both players refused to give an inch till 18-18 before Yamaguchi won three points in a row to advance to her maiden final at the tournament. Sindhu had won six of her nine previous matches against Yamaguchi but had lost to her in three games in the final of the World Superseries Finals in Dubai last year. Sindhu had defeated World champion Nozomi Okuhara in the quarters while Yamaguchi had gotten the better of Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the last eight.