PV Sindhu trounces Akane Yamaguchi, Kidambi Srikanth loses again at Dubai Finals

PV Sindhu defeated Akane Yamaguchi at the Dubai Super Series Finals. Kidambi Srikanth lost his third match in a row

other sports Updated: Dec 15, 2017 22:59 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Dubai
PV Sindhu,Akane Yamaguchi,Dubai Super Series Final
PV Sindhu defeated Akane Yamaguchi at the Dubai Super Series Final badminton.(AFP)

Already assured of a semi-final spot, PV Sindhu dispatched Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in straight games but Kidambi Srikanth’s dismal run ended with another defeat at the USD one million Dubai Super Series Final.

World No. 3 Sindhu, an Olympic silver medallist, thrashed World No. 2 Yamaguchi 21-9, 21-13 in just 36 minutes to top group A in women’s singles at the Sheikh Hamdan Indoor Stadium.

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However, world no. 4 Srikanth suffered his third straight loss in men’s singles Group B, going down 17-21, 21-19, 14-21 to All England Championship finalist Chinese Shi Yuqi in the last group stage match.

Sindhu, who clinched two Super Series titles this season before winning a silver at the World Championship, will face China’s Chen Yufei, who saw off Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon 21-18, 13-21, 21-18 in another Group B match.

The 22-year-old Indian showed great anticipation and athleticism to completely dominate the proceedings even as Yamaguchi got buried under a heap of unforced errors in the last Group A women’s singles match.

Before the match, Sindhu had a 4-2 head-to-head record against Yamaguchi, which included a win at the Hong Kong Super Series last month.

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Sindhu made a rousing start to the match, zooming to a 5-0 lead. An error at the net allowed Yamaguchi to break it before Sindhu wrested back the serve. The Japanese was affected by a series of unforced errors as she sent the shuttle flying wide and long.

Sindhu entered the opening break at 11-1 with a superb return and continued to rule the roost after the breather, reaching 15-4.

Yamaguchi won points sporadically, exploiting the Indian’s backhand a couple of times, but she failed to curb her unforced errors.

At 18-6, Sindhu committed a fault at the net but she followed that with a smash and gained 13 game points when her opponent went wide again.

Yamaguchi saved a couple of game points before Sindhu wrapped up the opening game with a delightful cross court drop.

The second game started on an equal footing with Sindhu and Yamaguchi splitting the initial four points after engaging in some fierce rallies. At 6-7, the duo engaged in a long rally before Yamaguchi sent it wide. A couple of unforced errors and Sindhu was leading 6-8.

The Japanese again narrowed it down to 8-9 before an accurate down-the-line smash and an error at the net by Yamaguchi helped Sindhu enter the lemon break with a three-point advantage.

The ordeal continued for Yamaguchi as she struggled to control the shuttle, allowing Sindhu to move to a 13-8 lead. A favourable video referral and a miscued shot by a stretched Sindhu gave a couple of points to the Japanese before Sindhu unleashed a roaring smash.

A low lift at the forecourt and an overhead return going to net further swelled Sindhu’s lead. The Indian capitalized by a cross court drop, reaching 18-12.

A deceptive return and another miscued stroke by Yamaguchi handed Sindhu seven match points and she sealed it with a quick reflex near the net.

After two straight losses, Srikanth stretched Shi Yuqi to the decider after grabbing the second game but he was no match to his opponent in the third game.

It turned out to be an anti-climax for Srikanth, who became the first Indian to win four Super Series title this season.

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 20:20 IST