Carrying momentum that makes her Indian fans want an Olympics rematch every time she strides onto the court, PV Sindhu now has an opportunity to tick another box from the Saina Nehwal wall-of-fame: back to back Super Series titles.
The 21-year-old will line up on Sunday for the Hong Kong Open crown, a week after she picked the big one in China.
Though a Sindhu-Tai Tzu Ying match up is something that even neutrals will savour, with two of the most exciting talents squaring off at the Coliseum on Finals day. For the second straight day, it’ll be an opponent Sindhu wasn’t expecting: Nehwal didn’t reach the semis and Carolina Marin didn’t make the finals. Sindhu though stumbled through the last one, and bossed around her opponent on Saturday, entering the finals as favourite. But write off Tai Tzu, the magician from Chinese Taipei, at your own peril. It has often been said of her that she’s so unpredictable that even she doesn’t quite know when she flips the switch from ridiculous to sublime. From raining errors to stringing winners. A prodigiously deceptive player – and with the shuttles playing fast in Hong Kong – Tai Tzu Ying is hardly an easy opponent to stand across, even if their last meeting was forgettably one-sided.
That was the beginning of Sindhu’s Olympics stomping – when she handed the tiny Taipese with wizard wrists a scorching straight sets defeat early in Rio. But Tai Tzu’s made countless finals at the expense of rivals who let their guards down – including Marin on Saturday.
Sindhu’s biggest weapon is her vertical advantage – the 5’11 – 5’3, 8 inches of steepness and menace which has downed many in the past four months. And the trick to overcoming the Word No 3 from Taipei is to not to let her hold her spell – she gets demoralised when opponents pick her tricks early.
Sindhu is coming off two weeks of high intensity badminton – and Tai Tzu isn’t averse to scrambling. The Taipei girl is capable of putting Sindhu’s weary limbs and mind under siege. Still, Sindhu has done all the hard work in getting upto here, and would be determined to pick her first back-to-back weeks’ titles – and make November memorable like Nehwal did June in 2010.