With the loss, in just 59 minutes, Sindhu had a dismal record against Tzu Ying which now reads 5-16 and has now lost in their last three meetings.
The opening game was a close fight as Sindhu and Tzu Ying engaged in an enticing battle. The Taiwanese managed to lead the game for most part but Sindhu kept breathing down her neck before reeling off four points on the trot to claim the game. Tzu Ying led 5-3 early on before grabbing a 11-8 advantage at the interval as Sindhu lost a few points on the net.
After the break, Tzu Ying jumped to a 14-10 lead with Sindhu making an error in her judgement at backline and also the Taiwanese producing a backhand cross court return. Sindhu drew parity at 16-16 with a run of points, highlighted by a crisp cross court slice and a backhand return.
Tzu Ying again moved ahead but two precise smash helped the Indian make it 19-19 as she grabbed the game point with another precise return that kissed the backline. Sindhu then played a cross court return at the net which her opponent couldn’t reach to gain the upper hand in the match. Tzu Ying came out all cylinders blazing to grab a 6-0 lead in the second game. Sindhu managed to reduce the deficit to 3-7 before the Taiwanese unleased a couple of drops and a smash to make it 9-4.
Two unforced errors from Sindhu handed a 11-4 advantage to her rival at the break. Tzu Ying continued to exert pressure on the Indian to move to 19-9 before winning the second game with a cross court return to level the match. In the decider, Tzu Ying again led 6-3 but she stumbled to some defensive errors as Sindhu again levelled the score 6-6 with a smash. However, the second seed Taiwanese held a 11-9 lead at the break after Sindhu made another error in her judgement at the backline. After the change of sides, Sindhu managed to keep the two-point difference till 13-15 before a lucky net cord and a weak return at the net by Sindhu gave Tzu Ying a 17-13 lead.
Sindhu again narrowed it to 16-18 and then 17-19 before Tzu Ying grabbed three match points with the Indian going to the net. The world no. 1 Taiwanese sealed it with another return from Sindhu going to net.
“It was a good match, there were no easy points. In the third game I came back and it was just one point difference at one stage. I broke my racket strings twice (during rallies) and that made a difference,” Sindhu said.
“It’s a tough group. I have to give 100 per cent.”
Sindhu next faces Ratchanok Intanon, who humiliated her last week in a lop-sided quarterfinal as well as enjoys a 5-4 record.
Against Pornpawee Chochuwong, her third opponent in the group, Sindhu has a 3-1 record but the Thai had defeated the Indian in their last clash in 2019.
SRIKANTH VS ANTONSEN
Making his fourth appearance at the season finale, Srikanth jumped to 7-1 early on but a few unforced errors helped Antonsen to make it 4-7. The Danish won a long 35-shot rally before Srikanth caught him off guard in the front court before gaining a three-point advantage at the break.
Antonsen drew parity at 12-12 with a smash but Srikanth played a magical return to move to 14-13 and then a backhand flick took him to 16-13. A couple of smashes helped Srikanth to reach 19-13 and soon he grabbed five game point opportunities and sealed it with his rival going wide. In the second game, Antonsen erased a 0-2 deficit to make it 5-2 with some superb shots from the front court. The Danish gained a four-point advantage at the interval following Srikanth wide return.
Srikanth showed good front court skills to narrow it down to 15-16 before missing the line with his smash. The Indian lost a point at the net and then went wide as Antonsen unleashed a jump smash to grab four game points and converted it with an acccurate shot at the backline. In the third game, Srikanth enjoyed a two-point advantage at the interval but he made too many unforced errors to allow Antonsen level par at 13-13.
Two sensational rallies ensued with both the players winning one each before Antonsen reeled off four straight points to grab three match points. Srikanth saved one before hitting one long.
(With inputs from PTI)