It was a gritty performance from Indian shuttler PV Sindhu that saw her outclass the reigning world and Olympic champion, Carolina Marin, in straight games in the final of the India Open Super Series on Sunday.
Sindhu prevailed 21-19, 21-16 to pull off her second straight win over her Spanish rival since losing to her in the Rio Olympics final.
With the win, Sindhu pulled level with Marin in their head-to-head record. The two shuttlers have now won and lost five matches each against each other.
The highlight of Sindhu’s India Open win was the manner in which she won her last three matches in the tournament, starting with the quarterfinal clash against compatriot Saina Nehwal.
Sindhu dominated the opening game against Saina, winning it with relative comfort. In the second game, she found herself pushed back to a corner by an aggressive Saina, but came back to win the game 22-20.
In her 2nd round match, Sindhu had fended off Japanese youngster Saena Kawakami, but beating Saina in the manner she did came as a reaffirmation of the technical ability and mental strength that had seen her take the badminton world by storm as a teenager.
In the semifinals, Sindhu showed tremendous grit once again to get over the line in the third and deciding game against the formidable Sung Ji-Hyun.
The win in the final was the icing on the cake for Sindhu. Against her much-fancied opponent, Saina edged out Marin 21-19 in the first game after being 18-19 down.
The Spaniard never managed to recover from losing the first game, with Sindhu holding her nerve and wearing out her rival to seal the title.
Winning the Super Series event will provide a major fillip to Sindhu’s quest for the world number one ranking, with the Indian likely to move into the second spot of the BWF world rankings. The greater significance of her win, however, will be the way she handled the big stage against some of her fiercest rivals.
Sindhu’s India Open win comes as a glowing endorsement of her mental reserves and underpins her stature as one of the best shuttler in the world at present.