It was a massive heartbreak for the Indian fans as star shuttler PV Sindhu lost her semifinal match against superior Tai Tzu-Ying 18-21, 12-21. But all is not over for the 26-year-old from Hyderabad, as she faces Chinese He Bingjiao in the bronze medal match at 5 pm IST on Sunday. Sindhu has been in excellent form in these games, barring her semis clash, where she was outplayed by the guise, deception, and speed of the Taiwanese girl.
Till now, Sindhu had improved much-improved show at the net and her attacking play was commendable too. But Tai Tzu had answers for everything. She did not let the Indian move freely on the court and deceived her with cross-court shots on the net. Also, Sindhu hardly had any time to react to her opponent’s body smashes — a weapon used seldom by shuttlers these days. If Sindhu wants to pocket her second Olympics medal, she will have to certainly some aspects of her game, and she would know it better than anyone else in the world.
HEAD TO HEAD
Till now the Indian and her Chinese counterpart have played 15 matches against each other, with the latter leading 9-6. Sindhu hasn’t been able to use her height to good advantage against Bingjiao, but if she wants to win, that should be her weapon.
SINDHU’S ROAD TO BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
She was completely outplayed in the semis by Tai Tzu. Despite leading for sometime in the first game, she could not gain momentum. After the Indian narrowly missed the first game, she was never able to come back in the second. She lost 18-21, 12-21.
Sindhu had a mixed game against Japanese Yamaguchi in the quarters. After winning the first game rather easily 21-13, Sindhu conceded 10 points from the 12 played in the second game. At one stage she was 14-8 up, but then trailed 18-14. Somehow she managed to pull things back.
Earlier, she was slotted in Group J with Israel’s Ksenia Polikarpova and Ngan Yi Cheung of Hong Kong. While Sindhu got the better of Polikarpova 21-7 21-10, she defeated Cheung 21-9, 21-16. In the pre-quarterfinals stage, Sindhu outclassed Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt 21-15 21-13.
BINGJIAO’s ROAD TO BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
The Chinese girl had the easiest of campaigns in the group matches and the round of 16 clash, where her opponent — BW Zhang of USA retired from the match. Her first big challenge was against Nozomi Okuhara in the quarters, where she won in three games, 13-21, 21-13, 21-14. In semis she lost against fellow player Chen Yufei in three games.
PV SINDHU VS HE BINGJIAO: WHO HAS THE ADVANTAGE?
Seeing the previous matches and overall form, Sindhu should be able to clinch her second successive Olympics medal. But the Chinese is known to be a fighter and will give it all to win the bronze for her country. But she has dropped a few games in her road to bronze medal match, which means she has been slightly inconsistent. That could work in favour of Sindhu.
Having said that, the player who handles the pressure will come out on top and take the medal home.