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Another Final, Another Stumble – Sindhu Yet to Conquer Demons

Another final. Another loss. It has become a consistent narrative with India’s top shuttler PV Sindhu. On Sunday, she succumbed to old foe, Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara at the Thailand Open in straight games 21-15, 21-18.

Madhav Agarwal | News18 Sports

Updated:July 16, 2018, 12:01 PM IST
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Another Final, Another Stumble – Sindhu Yet to Conquer Demons
PV Sindhu. (Getty Images)
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Another final. Another loss. It has become a consistent narrative with India’s top shuttler PV Sindhu. On Sunday, she succumbed to old foe, Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara at the Thailand Open in straight games 21-15, 21-18.

Sindhu has been here before, seemingly with no answers to the deceptive shots at the net by the Japanese pocket dynamo Okuhara. Right from the beginning of the match, Sindhu’s play wasn’t assured, as has been the case in several finals of her career. Okuhara didn’t need a second invitation to pounce.

After Okuhara won the first game without breaking a sweat, Sindhu looked a touch better in the second and raced to a 5-1 lead, improving her play at the net that hadn’t been up to the mark in the first game. However, Sindhu’s chance to comeback in the contest soon slipped away with Okuhara’s venomous smashes taking a real toll.

There is no doubt that Sindhu is one the best players in the modern game but her inability to win finals is a glaring black mark on her record. Call it nerves, call it fate, the lanky badminton player has had a torrid time in trying to overcome the jinx. It isn’t just the top players that have rattled Sindhu, but she has conceded these matches to player ranked well below her too.

For instance, Sindhu had no problems reaching the final of the 2016 South Asian Games and was expected to have an easy match against compatriot Ruthvika Shivani, ranked 131 at that time. But Shivani shocked Sindhu to win 21-11, 23-21. And since then she has lost seven more finals, including twice to compatriot Saina Nehwal twice, at the National Championships in Nagpur and more recently at the Commonwealth Games.

Surely, Sindhu’s support staff, made up of world class coaches and physios are working hard to find a solution. Perhaps her struggle to win titles is a combination of pressure and workload. With a jam-packed schedule – close to 20 World Tour tournaments, team championships, Commonwealth and Asian Games – even the best players can struggle with the body and mind taking a severe toll.

However, Sindhu has shown the ability to bounce back repeatedly and continues to make the final rounds of almost every tournament she plays in. It is a clear sign of her ability, resolve and skill. The monkey of these stumbles in summit clashes will sooner or later be off her back.
| Edited by: Pratik Sagar
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