PV Sindhu: I can win gold too
World No. 6 PV Sindhu says World Tour Finals triumph is her way of replying to critics who question her ability to win summit clashes
Seven successive finals and as many silvers. That's been the pattern for PV Sindhu every time she's entered a final. The script, however, changed yesterday when India's star World No. 6 shuttler finally crossed the line to end up on the winning side.
Sindhu, 23, broke her final jinx after her gold medal show in the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou (China) yesterday. She defeated former World champion - Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 21-19, 21-17 - to become the first Indian to win a World Tour Finals event.
The Rio Olympics silver medallist was relieved to end the year on a golden note. "I have no words to express how I feel right now because this is my first win of the year and every time I entered a final, I ended up losing. I am happy to end the year on a golden note," an excited Sindhu told mid-day from China.
The final hurdle
Sindhu's inability to clear the final hurdle invited the choker tag. The Hyderabadi did not fail to remind her critics that she can win gold too with yesterday's victory. "Most importantly, this win is an answer to everybody who said that I always end up winning a silver and not gold. This will be the most memorable tournament for me because I am proud of the way I played today," said Sindhu, who played her third successive World Tour Finals final.
In the first game, Sindhu made most of the drop shots and looked good at the net to lead 7-3 but Okuhara narrowed down the deficit to 5-7. After the breather, Sindhu extended her lead to 14-6 before Okuhara clawed back to make it 16-16. But Okuhara smashed wide twice to hand Sindhu a 19-17 advantage. In the second game, Sindhu engaged in long rallies with Okuhara leading 6-4. Sindhu, however, managed to stay ahead and led 11-9 at the interval after Okuhara lost a video referral.
Okuhara kept snapping at her rival's heels to make it 16-17. A return to the net gave Sindhu a 18-16 lead and from there on, didn't let the game slip away and won it comfortably. Talking about her one-hour, two minutes final, Sindhu said: "The most important thing for me before this tournament was that I got time to prepare. I knew that each match is going to be different and I had to be ready.
"Also, I had a tough draw, so I couldn't take any match lightly be it Akane Yamaguchi, Tai Tzu Ying or Ratchanok Intanon. All of them have different styles of play, so I had to give my best all the time. I feel that the hard work on and off the court paid off."
Her return flight to India prevented Sindhu from celebrating her momentous victory. "I love shopping, but I don't have much time to go to far off places. There are some malls nearby and I would go there and pick up whatever I like before I head home," she said.
Sindhu's mother P Vijaya, who accompanied her to China, was thrilled. "To see Sindhu win a gold was wonderful. I always saw her end up losing in the final. For most part of the match, I was very tense. I heaved a sigh of relief when she won the contest," she said.
With inputs from PTI
Faster, fitter Sindhu credits trainer Varma
Realising the need to work on speed and fitness, PV Sindhu hired personal trainer - Srikanth Varma last year. She said the move has paid off. "Srikanth has been working closely with me for almost a year and in this tournament, it all came together beautifully. He has improved my speed and endurance," she told mid-day. Sindhu also acknowledged her coaches P Gopichand, Indonesian Dwi C and Rifan Jaya for World Tour Finals preparations. "The win was a combined effort of everybody from Gopi sir to Dwi, Rifan. I can't thank them enough."
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe