Asian Games 2018: How Tendulkaresque Tai Tzu trumped PV Sindhu for gold

Aug 29, 2018, 08:30 IST | Ashwin Ferro

India's star shuttler PV Sindhu,loses gold medal match to World No. 1 Tzu Ying, who at 24, is dominating the sport just as batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar did at that age

Asian Games 2018: How Tendulkaresque Tai Tzu trumped PV Sindhu for gold
Tai Tzu Ying returns to PV Sindhu during their gold medal match in Jakarta yesterday. Pic/AFP

When India batting legend Sachin Tendulkar was in top form, in 1997-98, at the age of 24, it was said that no one could get him out other than himself. World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying's dominance on the badminton courts this year, has been such, and she's 24 too. That Tendulkar and Tzu Ying stand almost equally tall, at 5-feet-3 and 5-feet-4 respectively, is another correlation. And finally, their sheer talent and strokeplay matches to a tee as well.

Yesterday, at the Istora GBK Sports Complex, Tzu Ying came, saw and comfortably conquered India's star shuttler PV Sindhu 21-13, 21-16 in the gold medal match. World Championships and Olympic silver medal-winner Sindhu won a total of 29 points in the match, but amazingly, 18 of those were gifted away to the Indian by Tzu Ying, who either hit into the net, hit wide, hit long or worse still, served long. Sindhu celebrated most of her points, just like Tendulkar's opponents would have celebrated his dismissals.

India's PV Sindhu (left) and Saina Nehwal pose with their silver and bronze medals respectively in Jakarta yesterday. Pic/PTI
India's PV Sindhu (left) and Saina Nehwal pose with their silver and bronze medals respectively in Jakarta yesterday. Pic/PTI

Sindhu being much taller, 5-feet-10, enjoyed the better reach but a much smaller Tzu Ying covered the court far better and her clinical strokeplay left the Indian simply standing and staring in disbelief, at times. It was just like Tendulkar who dwarfed many a tall pace ace or spin king into submission with his sublime strokes, often ending up with the bowler being left to marvel at the maestro in disbelief.

India's chief national coach Pullela Gopichand aptly summed up Tzu Ying's brilliance. "I don't think there is another girl who is as deceptive as Tai in world badminton. She played really well today and didn't give Sindhu a chance. In badminton, there is deception, power, speed and reach but to be effective, besides deception, you must also have the other qualities, and Tai is a combination of deception, power and speed. She can run too because she has a physique that supports her in terms of endurance and speed. All this makes her the champion she is."

Speaking of yesterday's final, the former All England champion said: "In only a few rallies did Sindhu look like she could make a comeback but even that was too late in the match. Had she got that rhythm before, things may have been different, but then maybe Tai would have had another plan for that too."

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