Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu was not pleased with the officiating as her Badminton Asia Championships campaign ended with a bronze medal after a loss to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in three games on Saturday.
The 26-year-old started the match on a positive note but couldn’t keep the winning momentum going, losing 21-13, 19-21, 16-21 to the top seed and world No 2 Yamaguchi in the clash, which lasted one hour and six minutes.
Badminton Asia Championships, semifinal as it happened: PV Sindhu loses to Akane Yamaguchi
The Hyderabad shuttler, who won two Super 300 titles at Syed Modi International and Swiss Open, took the first game in 16 minutes.
In the second game, the fourth-seeded Sindhu was handed a point penalty for taking too much time between points, leading to an argument with the referee.
The incident happened when Sindhu was leading 21-13, 14-11 in the match.
“The umpire told me you’re taking a lot of time but the opponent wasn’t ready at that point,” said Sindhu after the match.
“But the umpire suddenly gave her the point and it was really unfair. I think that was one of the reasons why I lost. I mean that is my feeling because at that moment it was 14-11 and could have become 15-11 but instead it became 14-12 and she took continuous points. And I think it was very unfair. Maybe I would have won the match and played in the final.”
Sindhu added: “I told the chief referee but he said it’s already done. I think as a chief referee, as the head of the referees, he should have at least seen what the mistake was and seen the replay and done something about it.”
The argument on the court between Sindhu and the officials led to a momentum shift as Yamaguchi levelled the proceedings to force a decider. The Japanese shuttler found her rhythm and never let Sindhu regroup.
In the final game, Sindhu trailed from the beginning and eventually, Yamaguchi had five match points, which she duly converted.
This was Sindhu’s second medal in the tournament – she had claimed a bronze in the 2014 Gimcheon edition.
The head-to-head between Sindhu and Yamaguchi is now 13-9 in the Indian’s favour. With Sindhu’s defeat, India’s challenge at the individual continental championship ended.
The decision was criticised in many quarters of the badminton fraternity.