Denmark Open: PV Sindhu falters in final hurdle, losses to Li Xuerui

Indian shuttler PV Sindhu faltered in the final hurdle in her maiden Super Series final losing to defending champion Li Xuerui in the Denmark Open summit clash in Odense on Sunday.

By Jayanta Oinam | Updated: Oct 18, 2015, 19:37 PM IST
Denmark Open: PV Sindhu falters in final hurdle, losses to Li Xuerui

New Delhi: Indian shuttler PV Sindhu faltered in the final hurdle in her maiden Super Series final losing to defending champion Li Xuerui in the Denmark Open women's singles summit clash in Odense on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Hyderabadi lost the match in straight sets, 21-19, 21-12 in 47 minutes.

Returning from an injury lay off due to stress fractured in left foot, Sindhu showed exemplary courage and class to outmaneuver her higher ranked opponent in the beginning, but soon waned her prowess as the match progresses.

In first game, Sindhu won eight straight points, which ended with a smash from the Chinese at 16-11. Then, after conceding two straight points, Sindhu killed a rally with a strong smash on the near court for a 17-13. But the Chinese fought back to level the score at 17-17.

But on the game point, an error of judgment from the Chinese allowed Sindhu to make 19-20, but her own mistake on the base-line gave away the first game 21-19, from a 16-10 lead. In the end, Chinese girl's flat game proved decisive.

Early in the second set, Sindhu made a series of unforced error, allowing Xuerui to race away to a 6-1 lead. The Chinese girl consistently applied pressure forcing Sindhu to make errors after error. Sindhu's camp called for a break at 4-11 down.

Sindhu did managed to win four straight points to make it 11-16, but a service fault gave her opponent the opportunity to reel off the match in 21-12. Xuerui won 42 of the 73 totals played in the match, with a fair of counts coming from Sidhu's unforced errors.

The 13th ranked Indian tried to took the game to experienced Chinese, who defeated top players Wang Shixian and Sung Ji Hyun in the quarters and semifinals respectively, but failed to read the guile and pace of the Olympic champion.

This is Xuerui's first title of the year, and the eight Super Series Premier crown.

Xuerui is one of the most celebrated players of her time, having won nineteen singles titles, including seven Super Series and two Super Series Finals titles. She also won gold medals at 2012 Summer Olympics, besides host of other podium finishes.

Sindhu had won three titles -- 2013 Malaysia Masters, 2013 and 2014 Macau Open victories. In 2013, she famously became the first Indian woman to win a medal in singles at the World Championships, settling with bronze medal - a feat she repeated the following year.

In the previous four meetings, Sindhu and Xuerui have won two each, with three of those encounters going the distance. In the 2015 World Badminton Championships in August, the young Indian beat Xuerui 17-21 21-14 17-21. Four months earlier, the Chinese got the better of Sindhu at the Asian Championships in 11-21 21-19 21-8.

In 2012, Sindhu shocked the then number 2 ranked player in China Masters in another three sets 19-21 21-9 16-21. That same year, in the Uber Cup, in the first ever meeting Xuerui had an easy 21-16 21-13 win.

Yesterday, Sindhu beat two-time defending World Champions Carolina Marin in three sets to book her first ever Super Series final. In her semi-final match, Xuerui beat seventh-ranked Korean Sung Ji Hyun in three games 21-8, 20-22, 21-10.

Prakash Padukone (in 1980) and Saina Nehwal (in 2012) had previously won this prestigious tournament for India.