Mumbai: What Saina Nehwal couldn’t do last year, her fellow Hyderabadi has made up for it. PV Sindhu has won her maiden Super Series title by defeating Sun Ye of China 21-11, 17-21 and 21-11 in the China Open at Fuzhou today. Incidentally, Saina who won the title in 2014 ended runners-up in 2015. Sindhu is the second Indian woman to win the prestigious tournament.
Right from the opening round in Fuzhou, Sindhu busted myths and battled her way to the semi finals, beating China’s He Bingjiao and showing off her honed skills on Saturday by winning over Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun to reach the finals. She jolted past from behind and amalgamated several strokes and moves to cut past the final minute with a magnificent cross court smash.
World No. 6 Saina’s hallmark of her early days has been consistency, presently new avenues is seen hard to clinch on her return from surgery-and-rehab on Wednesday.
One’s loss is another’s gain. Truly, this has been exemplified by Sindhu, who at the age of 21 has taken the court by storm. The whole country was praying for the Hyderabadi, as she stepped into the finals of the tournament.
Saina has just recovered from an injury after limping her way out of the Rio Games. On her comeback, she bowed out of the China Open in the first round. Olympic silver medalist Sindhu on the other hand, justifies the adage, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
We are not here to draw any comparison between the two Hyderabadi shuttlers. Both have done the country proud. Saina has won innumerable trophies including the bronze in the 2012 Olympics. She has also been a favourite with advertisers.
On the contrary, Sindhu with her not-so-good looks preferred to focus on her game (becoming the first Indian woman to win a silver medal in the Olympics) despite not being a darling of the business class. The snarl of the lionesses is felt by the nation on its back, sending a chill down its spine. But with Sindhu coming out of Saina’s shadow, there’s some good news for Indian badminton.
Former Indonesian Olympic and World champion Taufik Hidayat has high hopes in Sindhu. He feels that the emergence of Sindhu will not only reduce the burden of expectations on Saina, but also make women’s singles category in India more competitive.
It was in July 2012, when the badminton world started taking note of the lanky Sindhu after she became the first Indian to win the girls’ singles title at the Asian Youth U-19 Championships. Subsequently, she proceeded to bag a silver in Rio, that also on her maiden appearance in the Olympics. Now she has added one more feather to her illustrious cap.
From Sindhu’s point of view, the China Open has earned her a precious place in our heart surpassing all expectations and barriers. Not-so-glamorous she may be, but it’s the performance on the court that counts and in this context, Sindhu is making all the right noises.