PV Sindhu settled for a bronze at the World championships after suffering a straight-game defeat against fellow 18-year-old and Thai world No 3 Ratchanok Inthanon in the semifinals on Saturday.
World No 12 Sindhu, seeded 10th and playing in her maiden World championships, had raised high hopes after her stunning victories against two Chinese players, defending champion Yihan Wang and then over Shixian Wang. However, she was a pale shadow of her self as he caved in 10-21 13-21 in just 36 minutes, settling for the bronze medal.
A day after Saina Nehwal’s tame loss, Indian fans had hoped things would be different. Sindhu won the first point, and pumped her fist to suggest she was ready to battle it out. But lethargic in her court movements, the tall Indian was also surprisingly reluctant to toss it up and hustle her shorter opponent.
Ratchanok mixed her strokes well and was always in command. She was ready for Sindhu’s straightforward attacking shots and was not only very deceptive, but was outstanding at the net. Sindhu showed a flicker of fightback late in the second game, but it had no effect.
Ratchanok is the first badminton player from her country to be assured of world championships silver. The Thai, who beat Sindhu on her way to winning the India Open in New Delhi, also won the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold this year.
The three-time world junior champion and 2010 Asian Games silver medallist will take on Chinese top seed Li Xuerui in Sunday’s final.
Upset, but happy
“I am a bit upset, but I’m happy to win bronze. It was my first World championship and it is a big victory for me,” Sindhu said. “The draw was really tough and I knew I had to play really well. I had to play Wang Yihan and Shixian Wang, but I didn’t think I will go on to lose. I was coming from an injury and missed two tournaments, so I just wanted to give my 100 per cent,” she added. Sindhu’s mentor and national coach Pullela Gopichand said: “Ratchanok played very well. She is very deceptive.”