New Delhi: A brilliant PV Sindhu humbled her Rio Olympics nemesis Carolina Marin in the final group match of the season ending BWF World Super Series Finals in Dubai on Friday.
In a must-win match, the Indian ace humbled the reigning World and Olympic champion from Spain in just 46 minutes for a straight games 21-17, 21-13 win in front of a buoyant Dubai crowd.
With two wins in three matches, Sindhu qualified for the semi-finals behind Sun Yu of China from Group B. She will play Group A winner South Korea's Sung Ji-hyun in the semi-final tomorrow. 2014 champion Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei takes on Sun Yu in another semis.
ALSO READ: AS IT HAPPENED
The 21-year-old Indian started well, winning the first two points for an early lead. But the Spaniard won the next two points hinting to a possible thriller, just like the Rio final.
Marin then raced away to a four-point lead at 7-3, before Sindhu hit back with her attacking game. After 11-11, Sindhu gained a three-point lead, helping her extend the lead to six at the game point.
From 20-14, Marin won three points to delay the inevitable. After 22 minutes, Sindhu pocketed the first game.
During in-games interval, the 23-year-old from Madrid required medical attention, and her physio tended to one of her feet, for a possible sprain.
The second game also started in similar fashion, with both serves exchanging frequently. But Sindhu slowly started building the lead, and just before the break, it was 11-6.
Marin briefly tried to keep pace with Sindhu, but the Indian continued to produce winning shots. Sindhu's charge was benefited from a series of unforced-errors from Marin and lucky calls at the net.
It was there eighth meeting, with Marin still leading by 5-3.
Marin, having beaten Sindhu in the last two meetings at Rio and Hong Kong Open last year, started as the favourite. But it was Sindhu who dominated every aspect of the game.
Sindhu started the season ending tournament beating Japan's Akane Yamaguchi in three games on the opening day, then lost to Sun Yu in straight games yesterday.
Sindhu is the lone Indian in the season ending tournament, which is competed by the season's top 8 players.
Last year Saina Nehwal in women's singles and Srikanth Kidambi in men's singles represented India, but both failed to make the knock-outs.
And in the previous edition too, the duo represented India, reaching semi-finals in their respective events.
This is the first time in five years that Saina has failed to make the season finale, and second time since making tournament debut in 2008.