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PV Sindhu strikes gold in Macau

Hyderabad shuttler beats Michelle Li in straight games to win her second GP Gold title.

Written by Express News Service | Macau | Published: December 2, 2013 1:28:54 am

PV Sindhu bounced back from a string of poor results to win to win her second Gold Prix Gold title of the year on Sunday. The 18-year-old,who had earlier won the Malaysian Open in May,beat Canada’s Michelle Li 21-15 21-12 in 37 minutes to win the Macau Open. Sindhu,the top seed,was completely dominant against the World No. 30 Li,seeded seventh at Macau. In the first game,Sindhu raced to a 7-0 lead within just two minutes of start of play before Li finally registered herself on the score sheet. But the Indian was relentless in her attack and never allowed any breathing space to her world number 30 rival. Although Li managed to reduce the gap between the two to 9-6 at one stage but Sindhu managed to keep herself in front. In the end,it took just 16 minutes for Sindhu to pocket the first game 21-15.

The second game started on a slightly even note with both players going neck and neck for the first few minutes. The scores were level at 5-5 with Li displaying better command over netplay. But Sindhu eventually broke through to go into the lead and was placed comfortably at 11-6 when the break was taken.

The Indian did not let the momentum shift even once after that as she piled on the points,showing better control of the baseline to emerge champion.

The win would undoubtedly have boosted the Hyderabad shuttler’s confidence after a run of early ousters recently. She had enjoyed a strong start to the year with the Malaysia Open win,a semifinal run at the India Open Super Series,beat fancied Chinese players en route a landmark bronze at the World Championships — the first singles medal since Prakash Padukone’s bronze in the 1983 edition. The results had won her an Arjuna Award and helped her reached a career high world ranking of 10. But in September she suffered a shock second round exit at the hands of a qualifer in the Japan Open,lost a tight first round encounter to World No. 18 Eriko Hirose in the Denmark Open Super Series,then was upset by World No.30 Scot Kirsty Gilmour in the French Open.

The string of losses was broken only when National coach Pullela Gopichand withdrew Sindhu from the China Open Super Series in November to concentrate on training. “We worked extensively on speed and aggression while at the academy during the preparation for the tournament and she executed it well in Macau,” he said.

Sindhu didn’t get the results immediately. She lost to second seed Inthanon Ratchanok in the first round of the Hong Kong Open and started slowly in Macau as well. She had to fight from a game down in her first two matches before finally putting in a dominant display against Hong Kong’s Tsz Ka Chan in the quarterfinals. A tough semifinal against an unheralded Qin Jinjing of China followed with Sindhu again dropping a game before edging out a closely fought third game. While the Chinese shuttler was the lowest ranked of her oppenents at World No.780,Sindhu rates the win as a crucial one.

“I was confident going into the final after I defeated the Chinese player and knew that if I did not make mistake I can win the title,” Sindhu said after the win. Madhumita Bisht who accompanied the team concurred with the assesment. “Sindhu was a bit nervous in the earlier rounds but the way she played in the semifinals and the finals,she thoroughly deserved the crown,” said Bisht.

Parents elated

MEANWHILE,her parents are elated over the rising Indian shuttler’s victory on Sunday and are hoping to see their daughter continue the good work in the coming year. The triumph ensured she capped off the season that saw her take giant strides in the sport,on a positive note.

“This year has been good for Sindhu. She received Arjuna award,bronze in world championship. Now,this win at the end of the year makes us happy,” Sindhu’s father PV Ramana said.

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