P V Sindhu, a name which is hovering in every corner of the nation and even the world after she has created history by entering the finals of the Women’s Singles badminton at Rio 2016, becoming the first Indian to compete in the finals of a racquet sport in Olympics.
The 9th seed from Hyderabad has acheived this feat by defeating a higher 3rd seed Okuhara of Japan 21-19,21-10 in straight sets in a packed Pavilion4 of the Rio Center, here in the host city of Rio De Janerio. It was dinner time in India, when the whole of the nation was stuck to their telivision sets to cheer and support their young daughter towards victory.
It was not before 24hrs did Sakshi Mallik give the empty handed nation its first medal in Bronze in the women’s 58kg freestyle wrestling, and now this ace shuttler has confirmed another medal and that too a better one, silver or gold.
The World Rank 9 player had a tough game initially against a competitive world no.3 Okuhara, who could boast to have the best on-court movement among all the women shuttlers in the world right now. But the 5ft10in Indian used her physicality to full advantage to fire some fiery smashes down the line and strechting the opponent to all corners of the court. After a good battle early on, the Indian had a clear 11-6 upper hand going into the break. Okuhara then came back to bring it close at 19-18. Mature shots from Sindhu in the pressure situation and Okuhara feeling the pressure just handed Sindhu the first set at 21-18.
Sindhu started off the second set with a 3-0 clear just to give away 5 straight points to the Japanese opponent and stay 5-3. Sindhu then came back from 2 behind to close out at the break with a 11-10 advantage. Returning from the break, Sindhu was beyond all barriers. She was at her best unleashing aggression and power shots at every corner of the court and this put her at 14-10. The Indian crowd was so much alive in the arena and this point literally saw the opponent from Japan giving up any hope of the match. Okuhara then went on to commit a lot of unforced errors and played a lot of bad shots just for Sindhu to close the set at 21-10 with an aggressive forward running body smash.
The two-time World Championship Bronze medallist has been a whole different player at Rio. She has been a lot comfortable with her defense and is playing a lot aggressive. Her expressiveness on the court seems to be an intelligent tactic from Dronacharya awardee, Pullella Gopichand, under whom Sindhu trains from 4 am in the early morning. The workout and special tactics for Rio 2016 look to have well worked between the duo and the experience that Gopi gained through his stinct in turning Saina into World No.1 and Bronze medallist at London 2012, looks to be coming handy now.
En route the Final, the 21 yr old Arjuna awardee has defeated Tai Tzu Ying, the former World No.3 from Taiwan in pre-qaurterfinals and the legendary Chinese World No.2 Wang Yihan to enter the semifinals of the quadrennial event where she upset Nozomi Okuhara. Her acheivements so far have been echoing in the media at a high rate but what waits in store is something of a concern. She is up against the World No.1 and current World Champion, Carolina Marin of Spain.
Both these players have come against each other 5 times in the senior circuit with Marin holding a 4-1 advantage over the Indian who could just manage in the Denmark Open last October in a 3-set thriller after which Marin had her revenge taken with a 21-17, 21-9 dominating victory in the Hong Kong Superseries within a month. The Spaniard who enters the semifinal after winning over the injured legendary Chinese Li Xurei is virtually the invincible shuttler in the present scenario, hopes to pull curtains on the young Indian’s fine run. But Sindhu on the other hand, winning three straight encounters over better players is high on confidence and looks to give her everything to get India its first gold of this olympics. Sindhu said: “I will give my everything for the Gold”.
So, are you ready to support your Wonder Girl to upset the Woman Nadal?
Leave wishes to Sindhu through the comments section below.
All the best to Sindhu! Go for Gold!