After eight months of her Olympic defeat, India's undisputed shuttle queen PV Sindhu on Sunday defeated Carolina Marin in straight games 21-19, 21-16 in the final to win her maiden India Open title.
At the women’s singles final of the 2016 Rio Olympics. it was sheer emotional connect that the whole nation established with Sindhu. She sealed the first game by 21-19 in a hard-fought clash and thus, united the whole nation that demanded an Olympic gold medal from her. With every serve and return, people’s hearts were beating in sync.
This was probably the first time when Indians were watching a game, other than cricket, with the same intensity of an India vs Pakistan cricket match.
Spanish shuttler Carolina Marin bounced back and clinched the second game by 21-12. It was heartbreak for the spectators. While keeping their fingers crossed, every soul prayed for Sindhu’s strong return in the final game.
Although Marin won the third game by 21-15, shattering India’s dream of an Olympic gold medal, the Olympic silver was still a stellar and first ever in the history of Indian badminton sport.
Following the victory on Sunday, the Hyderabadi girl will rise to the second rank in BWF World Rankings, leapfrogging the third-ranked Marin.
Head-to-head, Sindhu and Marin have played each other in nine matches so far with the Indian trailing the Spaniard 4-5.
The two faced each other for the first time in the Maldives International Badminton Challenge 2011 that Sindhu won (21-7 15-21 21-13) in her initial days of international badminton.
Marin knew Sindhu, then a 15-year-old girl, has something exceptional in her. She decoded all her skills and came up stronger to mark her dominance thereafter.
The southpaw shuttler rattled Sindhu in straight games in next three consecutive clashes. Sindhu suffered a 17-21 17-21, 17-21 15-21 and 13-21 13-21 defeat in the Star Australian Badminton Open 2014, Li Ning BWF World Championships 2014 and Syed Modi International Badminton Championships 2015 respectively.
The Yonex Denmark Open in 2015 was marked as Sindhu's strong reply against mighty Marin. She registered a 21-15, 18-21, 21-17 win over second-seeded Marin in the semi-final event.
Marin returned to dominate the Indian shuttler in Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open 2015 as she outclassed her by 21-17, 21-9, followed by the Olympic victory.
In December last year, Sindhu registered a 21-17, 21-13 victory against Marin in a group-stage match of Dubai World Superseries Finals.
Watching Sindhu play against the two-time world champion Marin now, one could witness tremendous improvement in her game and a well-boosted self-confidence.
The competition has turned intense with the passage of time and whenever the two clash, they result with sparkling action. However, badminton enthusiasts always ask for more from these two badminton powerhouses.