Nanjing (China): Indian women’s singles star shuttler P.V. Sindhu suffered yet another heartbreak in a major final as she lost to Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin in straight games in her second consecutive final of the Badminton World Championships here on Sunday.
Third seed Sindhu, who was a three-time World Championships medallist before this edition, fell 19-21, 10-21 against the Spanish seventh seed, who became the first women’s singles player to win three world titles. It was Carolina’s third title in the last four editions.
Sindhu, who had lost to Nozomi Okuhara in last edition’s final, had a nice opportunity to defeat Carolina who had conquered the Hyderabadi in the 2016 Rio Games final.
Coming into the final here, even though they have won six matches each against each other, Sindhu has won three out of four games she faced Carolina since the Rio loss.
And at Nanjing, Sindhu again gave ample signs of adjusting to the quick and fast shuttle play from Carolina, only later to face a harsh reality of once again being tamed by the Spaniard.
In the first game, Sindhu was involved in long rallies from the beginning and employed few smart short smashes to lead 5-3 which later became 8-5 after Carolina hit one to the net and a couple went wide and long.
Trailing 8-11, Carolina looked desperate to hit back at Sindhu and this resulted in the Spaniard being over-reactive. She went for power, instead of precision and a couple of shots went long over the line. Sindhu was leading 14-9 when Carolina felt the urgency to arrest the slide.
The 25-year-old upped the ante and equalised at the 15-point mark. They exchanged a point each till the 18-point mark as Carolina launched a couple of body smashes to which Sindhu replied with sharp cross-court game. However Carolina managed to take the first game 21-19.
In the second game, Carolina didn’t relent and managed to sustain the momentum gained from the first game. Quick in her movement, Carolina put up a super dominant game to race away to an 11-2 lead at the mid-game interval.
In the past couple of rounds, Sindhu had managed to turn it around after the mid-game break. But against Carolina, she couldn’t repeat the act as a 17-4 lead for the European powerhouse meant her win was only a formality.
Sindhu then was already waging a lost battle even though she pocketed 10 points in total in the second game before surrendering the contest.
The loss extended India’s drought of a world title in the game.
Meanwhile, the men’s singles title went to Japanese sixth seed Kento Momota, who defeated home favourite and third seed Shi Yuqi 21-11, 21-13 in 49 minutes.
In the mixed doubles final, Chinese top seeds Zheng and Huang Yaqiong fought off compatriot second seeds Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping with a 21-17, 21-19 victory in 49 minutes.
The all-Japanese women’s doubles final witnessed a huge upset, with the 11th seeds Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara overcoming second seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota with a 19-21, 21-19, 22-20 in a gruelling clash which lasted an hour and 35 minutes.