PV Sindhu loses to Carolina Marin in Swiss Open badminton final
Carolina Marin taking on PV Sindhu is always a hotly anticipated affair. After all, the duo have played three fireworks-filled finals in the past, including the 2016 Olympics and 2018 World Championships.
The first meeting between the Rio Games finalists in two years and two months, the same was expected at the Swiss Open summit clash at the St. Jakobshalle arena in Basel where world No.7 Sindhu created history by winning the world championship in August 2019.
But Sunday turned out to be a damp squib. The Olympic champion from Spain outplayed second seeded Sindhu with the top seed winning 21-12, 21-5 in only 35 minutes, extending her head-to-head advantage to 9-5.
Such was the three-time world champion’s dominance that she allowed Sindhu to win only 17 of the 59 points in the match. Marin’s raw aggression, confidence after having reached her fourth final on the trot, and express pace on the court was too much for the world champion to take, who reached her first final after 13 tournaments and 19 months.
“It was a one-sided match. Sindhu couldn’t handle the pace of Marin. The shuttles are slow. She should have tried to slow down the pace of the game instead of trying to match Marin’s high pace,” said national selector and former chief national coach U Vimal Kumar from Bengaluru. “Sindhu tried to match the pace of Marin which the Spaniard loves.”
The encounter started competitively with both shuttlers exchanging service after every couple of points. But leading at 9-8, the top seed upped the tempo to take six consecutive points which completely changed the momentum and complexion of the game.
Marin showed no signs of tiredness after her sapping semi-final against Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong that lasted an hour and 16 minutes on Saturday. The Spaniard hurried Sindhu, easily winning points from the back court and racing away to pocket the first game in 19 minutes.
If Marin displayed her dominance in the first game, the second was a demolition act. The feisty Spaniard, known for her grunts and shrieks after winning points, took the first five points of the second game. The southpaw’s smashes came down hard at Sindhu, who was unable to retrieve and match the trademark aggression of the world No.3.
Marin won eight points on the trot to take a 14-2 lead. Sindhu’s shoulders were drooping, body language suggesting her fight was ebbing.
Soon the three-time world champion had 15 match points to play with. She needed only one as her backhand cross court drop was enough to seal the contest and her third title in four tournaments this year.
“Sindhu was never under the shuttle from the back and her downward shots were easily being retrieved by Carolina. Sindhu should have rallied more and made Marin work more. Marin was always under shuttle while playing her shots from the back,” added Kumar.