Sindhu played like a winner from start. Buoyed by her semifinal triumph against Sung Ji Hyun on Saturday, India’s PV Sindhu kept her composure on an even keel, despite the crowd rooting for her Chinese opponent Sun Yu. Except in the middle of the second game, when she squandered a 4-point lead at 14-10 and allowed Sun Yu to force the decider, Sindhu looked generally untroubled. Sun Yu did her best but Sindhu was perfect in the long title game on Sunday. While the Olympic silver medalist claimed her maiden Super-Series Premier title by winning the final of $700,000 Thaihot China Open, the Chinese badminton brigade suffered its worst debacle in recent memory. The host shuttlers featured in four finals and lost all of them on a fateful Sunday to draw a blank from the tournament. The men’s crown was won by Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, who inflicted a shock defeat on the Olympic champion Chen Long. While Indonesia claimed men’s and mixed doubles titles, Korea won the women’s doubles.
PV Sindhu’s superb run in 2016 Thaihot China Open culminated with her clinching the prestigious title in the Chinese city of Fuzhou. The Indian edged out China’s Sun Yu in three games to win her first ever Super-Series Premier title. This was also Sindhu’s first major tournament victory after she won the Olympic silver medal at Rio in August 2016. In the final, Sindhu faced a partisan crowd that raucously supported Sun Yu but the Indian had prepared well for this eventuality. She dominated the proceedings in the first game to fork out an 11-5 lead at the break and never looked back. At 20-8, Sindhu held 12 game points and although Sun Yu saved three of them, the Indian took a 1-0 game lead. In the second game too, Sindhu led 6-3 and went for the break at 11-7. Just when things looked rosy for Sindhu at 14-10, the Chinese broke Sindhu’s rhythm by producing some powerful body smashes and leveled the score at 14-14. Sun Yu kept up the pressure and led 18-16. Sindhu lost a video referral after a line call and Sun Yu had a game point at 20-16. Sindhu saved one point but the Chinese roared back into the contest by forcing the decider.
Sindhu was back with new resolve in the third game but Sun Yu wouldn’t yield just yet. The two players were neck to neck until 6-6. At this point, Sindhu reeled off four consecutive points and although the Chinese pulled back two; Sindhu entered the break at 11-8. Post the break, Sindhu continued to consolidate and benefitted from Sun Yu’s errors. At 19-11, the title victory was in clear sight as Chinese fans had drooped shoulders. The match point for Sindhu came, when Sun Yu thought that Sindhu’s overhead shot was crossing the back line. But the shuttle kissed the line and Sindhu stood one point away from the title. She played over Sun Yu’s head and the stranded Chinese couldn’t reach the shuttle. Sindhu let out a huge joyous scream in her 21-11, 17-21, 21-11 title victory in 69 minutes.
China had their worst day in a major Asian tournament. They lost all the four finals, where their players had featured. The men’s singles crown was won by Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, who stunned Olympic champion Chen Long 22-20, 21-13. This was Jorgensen’s first victory over Chen Long since 2014 Indonesian Open. In the mixed events, Indonesia won two titles. First was the men’s doubles, where Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo defeated Denmark’s Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen 21-18, 22-20 and in the mixed doubles, Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir outlasted China’s Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui 21-13, 22-24, 21-16. The women’s doubles crown was won by the Korean pair of Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee, who defeated China’s Huang Dongping/Li Yinhui 13-21, 21-14, 21-17.
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