Ever Since PV Sindhu lost the marathon summit clash against Akane Yamaguchi in the BWF World Superseries final in Dubai exactly a year ago, the 23-year-old has made it to the title round for five more tournaments only to end up on the losing side.
Sindhu’s troubles in the final have even raised doubts over her ability to handle pressure in crunch situation and the world number six would have another opportunity on Sunday to prove her doubters wrong when she face her 2017 world championship final conqueror Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the BWF World Tour Finals sumit clash in Guangzhou.
Sindhu, who has dropped just one game in the tournament so far, showed enough resilience to get the better of Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon 21-16, 25-23 in the semifinal and credited her win to the improved mental strength despite making simple errors in the first game.
“Couple of times when I was leading and she came back, I would be nervous before,” she said. “But now I am comparatively much more stronger at it. Just focus on the next point. I tend to keep thinking and lose 2-3 points.”
The 23-year-old added that her improved mental strength and patience will be key in the final against Okuhara.
“Whenever we played, there were always long rallies. We had to be patient enough to be on the court as much as possible. Otherwise, with her there isn’t much strategy. I have to keep the shuttle in court,” she said.
Sindhu has a particularly good tournament in Guangzhou having defeated Akane Yamaguchi, world number one Tai Tzu Ying, Beiwen Zhang and now Intanon. But she said that against Okuhara, she will try to keep it simple.
“It’s going to be a long match and not going to be easy because we know each other’s game. Over there, we need a strategy and play accordingly,” she said.
In the semi-final against Intanon, Sindhu admitted being nervous and said that she treated every point as a do-or-die battle and finished off the match.
“I was thinking what’s going on. But I was patient and kept going. Even though it was mid-court, I was playing high toss or a drop or making a simple mistake. So I thought why not hit and see what will happen next. I was successful. It was a good finish overall,” she said.
Sindhu accepted that she was desperate to win the title after so many near losses since the year ending tournament last year.
“Definitely it will mean a lot (winning the gold). I would not say it’s pressure. If I win it, it will be very important for me,” she said.