PV Sindhu’s disappointment of finishing second-best in major tournaments continued as she lost in straight games to Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei. World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying was far better than her competitor in the final of the women’s singles event at the Asian Games in Jakarta. Despite the defeat, Sindhu created history in India’s best-ever finish in badminton at the continental event. Prior to Sindhu, no Indian had ever reached the final of any event at the Asian Games. The last Indian to win a medal in an individual event was Syed Modi grabbing a bronze medal at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. It is also the first time that India have won two individual medals at the Asian Games with Saina Nehwal clinching bronze medal on Monday. She was beaten by Tai in the semifinals.
Sindhu has already tasted defeat in the final of two major events this year – at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast (to Saina) and World Championships in Nanjing (to Spain’s Carolina Marin). Sindhu, Rio Olympics silver medallist had also lost the finals at India Open (to Beiwen Zhang) and Thailand Open (to Nozomi Okuhara) this year. Sindhu came into the final having lost five straight matches to Tai with the last win coming at the Rio Olympics. On Monday, Sindhu had said she had a few cards up her sleeve and some ideas to counter Tai Tzu Ying. But on the day, none of them worked out. The Chinese Taipei shuttler dominated from the start and Sindhu played catch up all the way. Her sharp returns and well placed disguises were on mark from the word go as she took a 5-0 lead.
Sindhu turned up her attacking and fierce game to reduce the deficit to 4-6 but Tai continuously remained one step ahead. Using lovely drop shots to perfect use, the Chinese Taipei player raced away to a 17-10 commanding lead following the mid-game interval. Using her angled shots, drop shots and clever wristwork, PV Sindhu found it tough to anticipate the replies and find appropriate returns. The first game was over in just 16 minutes. At the start of the second game, Sindhu tried to push Tai Tzu Ying to the back. This strategy worked at the start to put the game level at 4-4. But in attempt at finding the lines and pushing up the tempo, Sindhu created far too many errors. Even when her deep shots found their range, her drop shots that followed were not effective enough to win points.
As the game went on, Tai Tzu Ying tightened her grip on the match. An unreturnable smash put her ahead 15-10. The contest was inching close to the end when Tai earned a match point with Sindhu netting it at 15-19. Sindhu saved one match point but couldn’t prolong the inevitable when Tai Tzu Ying’s drop shot went unanswered.