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PV Sindhu’s great run: The best wins of the badminton star in 2016

A look at PV Sindhu’s biggest wins in 2016 after she stormed into semifinals of the Hong Kong Open, a week after her China Open Super Series Premier win.

other sports Updated: Nov 25, 2016 22:37 IST
Amit Kamath
pv sindhu

Fresh from her China Open Super Series Premier triumph, PV Sindhu stormed into the semifinals of the Hong Kong Open, although hopes of an all-Indian clash was dashed after Saina Nehwal lost in the quarters on Friday.(REUTERS)

January 22

Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold

In what was a masterclass, PV Sindhu brushed aside Indonesia’s Lindaweni Fanetri inside 30 minutes. The third seed was aggressive throughout to seal the match 21-10, 21-10 for her sixth consecutive win over her rival. The ease with which she won the quarterfinal was apparent as she went on to clinch the title.

January 23

Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold

It was Sindhu’s first real test of the year as she ran into top seed Ji Hyun Sung of Korea, ranked four places higher at world No 8.

Sindhu claimed the first game with ease, but the Korean levelled to take things into the decider. The third game, however, was a breeze for Sindhu as she won 21-19, 12-21, 21-10 in one hour and nine minutes, entering her first final of the season.

January 24

Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold

Tested by her Korean opponent in the semis, Sindhu would not have expected to win the final against Kirsty Gilmour in just 32 minutes. After all, didn’t the Scot beat her in their previous encounter at the 2013 French Open? But Sindhu rode to her first title of 2016 with a 21-15, 21-9 win, regaining the title she won in 2013.

April 7

Malaysia Open Super Series Premier

Going into the second round match, Sindhu had scores to settle with Ji Hyun Sung as the Korean had beaten her on home turf in Hyderabad in the Asian Badminton Championships team event in February. It didn’t prove easy as Ji Hyun fought hard before the two-time World Championships bronze medallist won 22-20, 21-17 in 47 minutes.

May 18

Uber Cup

Given India’s reliance on women’s singles in team events, the pressure was firmly on Saina Nehwal and Sindhu to give India a perfect start against Japan. After Saina’s win, Sindhu too racked up a 21-11, 21-18 win over Akane Yamaguchi, the world No 11, in 36 minutes to guide India to a 2-0 lead. India though lost the tie 2-3.

August 15

Rio Olympics

Competing in her first Olympics, the pressure on Sindhu was immense. It only magnified after London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, nursing an injury, was eliminated, leaving her the only Indian woman shuttler in the singles. But the 21-year-old emerged victorious against wily Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, outclassing her 21-13, 21-15 to enter the quarterfinals. The win went a long way in calming her nerves for tougher battles.

August 16

Rio Olympics

In the quarters, Sindhu ran into London Olympics silver medalist, Wang Yihan, known for her retrieving skills. The pressure of the occasion and the experience of the Chinese began to show as Sindhu trailed 10-12 in the first game. However, she maintained her poise and clawed back, eventually winning 22-20, 21-19. The World No 10 later branded the win as one of the best moments of her career. The win also meant China would not have two medallists in the women’s singles for the first time since 1996.

August 18

Rio Olympics

Standing between Sindhu and an Indian’s first appearance in the Olympics final was another 21-year-old, Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara. She was ranked sixth in the world, had won the All England title and also beaten the Indian in their three previous meetings on the senior circuit. However, Sindhu reversed the trend, winning 21-19, 21-10. Victory also meant in only her first Olympics, she had surpassed compatriot Saina Nehwal, who won bronze in London.

November 19

China Open World Super Series Premier

Sindhu’s path to her maiden Super Series Premier title was barred by a familiar opponent, Korea’s Ji Hyun Sung, in the semifinal. After losing the first game 11-21, Sindhu was 17-20 down in the second. However, the Indian staged an epic comeback, saving three match points. She went on to win the one-hour, 24-minute match 11-21, 23-21, 21-19.

November 20

China Open World Super Series Premier

To beat a Chinese shuttler in China is always special. But to do that in the final of a Super Series Premier event held in that country is doubly sweet. That is what Sindhu achieved to claim her maiden Super Series Premier title, and her first success post Rio. She battled past China’s Sun Yu 21-11, 17-21, 21-11 in an encounter which lasted over an hour. The Chinese shuttler had not dropped a game until the final, but the Indian raised her game when it mattered to emerge victorious.