Preview: In what has been an utterly disappointing campaign for Indian shuttlers at the BWF World Championships, PV Sindhu has yet again emerged as the lone bright spark as she made it to the final of women’s singles event on Saturday. The 23-year-old Hyderabadi brushed aside a stiff challenge from Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi 21-16, 24-22 in the semi-final and entered the summit clash of the coveted championships for the second successive time.
Marin is not having it as easy as she would probably have liked in the final. Sindhu is being assertive and not letting the Spaniard get on the attack. Sindhu has managed to push Marin on the defensive with some good play. Sindhu on her part has not gone for the smash as yet and is looking to keep things tight.
File Image of PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin (Getty Images)
Sindhu lived up to the expectations of millions of fans round the globe and delivered under high pressure. Till now she has had a flawless tournament and hasn’t dropped a single game against world beaters like Sung Ji Hyun, Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi. Her movement on the court and attack have been impeccable and has managed to take her opponents by surprise.
But come the final it will be a different ball game altogether and none of this will matter when Sindhu takes on old foe, Spain’s Carolina Marin on Sunday. Keeping away the rivalry and history of these two modern-day legends aside, the world no 3 will have to fight inner demons to get past Marin and get her hands on that elusive gold at the world events.
A tough ask, the Indian has nothing to prove when it comes to accolades and achievements, but a gold at the World Championships will certainly go a long way in shaping her career for the future. A missed opportunity could only do irreparable damage to her confidence when it comes to winning the final. Not that the Indian has never tasted success on the final frontier — she had a memorable win against Marin at India Open Superseries last year and few other titles too — Sindhu badly needs this title for herself and send across a strong message that she can cope up with the high strung battles. Often criticised for not dictating terms in crunch matches, Sindhu has now come out and exposed the weaknesses of her opponents by not allowing them to play long rallies close to the baseline.
She has stuck firmly to the mid-court that gives her ample opportunities of playing shots from anywhere on the court, given her wide reach. The ploy worked well against Okuhara, Yamaguchi, who cover a lot of ground on the court, and there is no reason why it won't work against the nimble-footed Spaniard.
The Indians attack has also flourished and Sindhu has looked much more comfortable in creating opportunities to score winners, rather than waiting for others to make mistakes. This would come in handy against Marin, who is known for not making many unforced errors on the court.
It's been a quiet year for the Spaniard and she would look to make amends by winning the championship. While the focus this year has been on Tai Tzu-yings, Yamaguchis and Okuharas, no one considered Marin as a potential threat and that has worked in her favour. She has been electrifying on the court and her deceptive cross-court shots have only increased problems for her opponents. She is a player who thrives in pressure, unlike her Indian counterpart. If Marin can restrict Sindhu from winning the first few points of the match then she can easily dictate terms.
So now the onus lies on Sindhu to deliver when it matters the most.
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