Korea Open: Sindhu defeats Okuhara to claim third Super Series title

In what can be called a scintillating final of the Korean Open, Indian shuttler PV Sindhu defeated Japanese Nozomi Okuhara 22-20, 11-21, 21-18 in Seoul on Sunday to win the third Super Series of her career.

The victory meant sweet revenge for Sindhu over the Japanese, whom she had beaten at the Rio Olympics in 2016, while Okuhara had got the better of her at the World Championships. She also became the first Indian to win the Korea Open.

Nozomi took the field with history by her side, having won four of the total seven encounters between the two, that included a victory in the final of the recent World Badminton Championships at Glasgow. Sindhu on the other hand looked for revenge for the loss in the Worlds in what was termed as a David vs Goliath battle, where she was expected to win the title after racing her way to the finals, defeating opponents in straight sets.

Both the shuttlers began the match on a positive note earning two points each from the first four. Sindhu as usual took the early lead racing to 5-2 in no time. But, Okuhara despite the initial nervousness did not allow Sindhu from taking a big lead. It looked like another poised game was on the cards between the two, when the game stood at 9-11 at the first break. However, she could not stop the Indian from winning the first set 22-20 despite putting up a hard fight.

The second set completely belonged to Okuhara, as the world champion raced to a 11-21 victory, putting aside the lanky Sindhu and not allowing her to settle during the set. The Japanese completely dominated the proceedings forcing Sindhu to make several errors in the match, that included a service error. Despite having the chance to win the game in a straight sets, Sindhu could not combat the swift movement of the world number 17, who won the set with her trickery moves.

The game moved to a third set for the second successive time between the two, recalling memories of Okuhara diminishing the World number 4, Sindhu in Glasgow. The decider set also saw a rejuvenated Sindhu who dominated her opponent with full confidence, not allowing Nozomi to play her natural game, which resulted in her taking a big lead of 11-5 with a six point advantage at the break.

However the game was far from over, as the Japanese slowly made her way, reducing the deficit to just two points at 14-11. But PV Sindhu despite the long rallies taking a toll on her, hung on to win the match 21-18. It was a hard fought win for the Indian and a victory
she will cherish for the years to come.

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