BWF World Tour Finals, as it happened: PV Sindhu ends 2018 title drought in style against Okuhara
Live updates from the final match of the 2018 season.
PV Sindhu wins her first title of 2018 after a thrilling final.
12.02 pm: What a way to spend your Sunday morning eh? That will be all from us for now. We will leave you with the match-report here.
11:56 am: What a cracking final we’ve had. It didn’t quite go the distance like Glasgow last year but it was not low on quality. Far from it! Take a bow, you two!
11.51 am: The prize distribution is on.
Abhijeet Kulkarni: It was a very different Sindhu in the final. She looked more assured and the relief on her face after the point that gave her the title just showed how the final loses had started playing on her mind. Guangzhou seems to be a happy hunting ground for her.
11.49 am: An amazing moment for Indian badminton, an amazing moment for Sindhu who is all smiles.
11.47 am: PV Sindhu’s wait for a title in 2018 comes to an end in some style!
PV SINDHU WINS IT: The relief on Sindhu’s face said it all. Slumped to her knees, hands on her face. Then a warm embrace between the players. Followed by a pat on the back from Gopichand!
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 21-17 Okuhara: PV SINDHU WINS IT !!! FIRST INDIAN TO WIN THE WORLD TOUR FINALS TITLE!
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 20-17 Okuhara: THREE MATCH POINTS, SINDHU! Another superb rally ends with a top drop by Sindhu.
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 19-16 Okuhara: Both players on their knees once again!!!! Okuhara’s defence to the fore again but she sends a lift short and Sindhu pounces on to it. Sindhu two points away!
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 18-16 Okuhara: Sindhu’s lead is back down to one after a misjudged leave. Next point, Okuhara’s string gives way midway through the rally and she ends up netting the shuttle. Lead again with Sindhu.
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 17-14 Okuhara: Sindhu looked tired after that rally but it’s Okuhara who is making the mistakes. Two costly errors potentially (including a service error) and Sindhu inches ahead!
Abhijeet Kulkarni: That rally seemed longer than 48 shots. Sindhu did well to stay that long in the rally but Okuhara was just two quick for her. 15-13 to Sindhu still and it is going to boil down to belief now for the Indian than anything else
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 15-13 Okuhara: 48 SHOT RALLY! WHAT A POINT! Both Sindhu and Okuhara push each other to their absolute limits and despite Sindhu’s remarkable defense during that point it’s Okuhara’s movement that triumphs. Both players need a break, we need a break from typing!
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 15-12 Okuhara: A loud yell from Sindhu as she takes a couple of point on serve. Three-point lead!
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 13-12 Okuhara: Sindhu loses the serve after a body smash from Okuhara. Just a little while earlier, the players were playing mind games with each one denying a change of shuttle to the other.
11.30 am: Gyan from Mr. Gopichand...
Abhijeet Kulkarni: Sindhu has done very well so far to keep her nose ahead at 11-9 in this game despite Okuhara pushing her to play long rallies. If she can start strong here, she would be the favourite to finish it in two games.
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 12-9 Okuhara: Fist bump from Sindhu as she wins a short rally to resume after the break. Remember though, no lead is safe with Okuhara.
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 11-9 Okuhara: SLENDER LEAD FOR SINDHU! There is no doubt the crowd wants to see this go to the decider! Sindhu has already received warnings for spending time away from the court during break between points. Okuhara has the crowd on her feet with her retrieval skills. And this match could still go either way!!! Both Sindhu and Okuhara get a referral wrong in that phase.
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 9-8 Okuhara: From 7-7, Sindhu has a two point lead again. AND AGAIN, Okuhara fights back. This is another gruelling rally that has the crowd on its feet. Sindhu nets it at the end. Lead back down to one.
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 7-6 Okuhara: Who’s going to feel the effects of these long rallies first? Okuhara cuts the lead again down to one point.
Meanwhile in Perth....
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 7-4 Okuhara: A pattern developing. Sindhu pulls ahead, Okuhara fights back, Sindhu pulls ahead again. The rallies are getting longer in the second game now too.
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 5-2 Okuhara: The Japanese shuttler gets two back before two errors (one at the net, one in the back court) gives Sindhu a 3 point lead again.
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 3-0 Okuhara: Three points to start the second game for Sindhu. Okuhara’s turn to misjudge on the line. Shuttle lands in.
Second game, Sindhu 21-19 1-0 Okuhara: PV Sindhu starts the second game with a superb challenge and takes the first point.
First game, Sindhu 21-19 Okuahara: PV SINDHU DRAWS FIRST BLOOD! Okuhara managed to save two of them but it was once again that half smash by intercepting the shuttle that caught Okuhara short. She’s on her knees! WHAT A GAME!
First game, Sindhu 20-19 Okuahara: Okuhara saves 2 game points! Did Sindhu miss out on a point due to the lack of referrals? Hard to say. Okuhara fights back again.
First game, Sindhu 20-17 Okuahara: Three game points Sindhu! Okuhara’s turn to misjudge at the backend of the court.
First game, Sindhu 19-17 Okuahara: Sindhu gets her nose ahead and then follows that up with an error at the net. Back level again. Then Okuhara sends the shuttle wide going for a down the line smash either side of the court. Two point lead for Sindhu!
Abhijeet Kulkarni: Okuahra has won 10 of the last 12 points and the rally to draw level at 16-16 would hand the momentum on the Japanese. She has been picking every shuttle and pushing Sindhu out of her comfort zone
First game, Sindhu 16-16 Okuahara: WE ARE LEVEL! Sindhu’s lead has vanished quicker than you could realise what was going on. Another long rally results in Sindhu leaving the shuttle at the back line but it lands in.
First game, Sindhu 16-15 Okuahara: Sindhu’s fist bump after breaking Okuhara’s run is short-lived. Errors at the net from Sindhu and the lead is now down to one point. Superb fightback from Okuhara.
First game, Sindhu 15-13 Okuahara: A series of superb overhead slices by Okuhara results in Sindhu losing a long rally. The pace of the game has definitely gone up and Sindhu’s lead is just down to 2.
First game, Sindhu 15-11 Okuahara: Okuhara is fighting back after that run of points for Sindhu. The pace of the rallies are getting quicker. At the end of a fast rally, Sindhu loses her second referral as well.
First game, Sindhu 14-6 Okuahara: Three points since the break for Sindhu and she’s looking in total control! Mixing up her shots well but most of all focussing on staying in the rally while Okuhara tries the variations in her arsenal.
Abhijeet Kulkarni: Sindhu has clearly started strong in the final. She is willing to wait for her openings but at the same time not just playing the waiting game but looking to control the rallies with better stroke selection. She leads 11-6.
First game, Sindhu 11-6 Okuahara: FIVE-POINT LEAD heading into the midgame interval for Sindhu and well-deserved at this point. Okuhara, rather fitttingly, ends that phase with an error. Hasn’t got her radar going yet.
First game, Sindhu 9-5 Okuahara: WHAT A RALLY!!! Sindhu wins the longest rally of the match so far (44 shots) to take a 9-5 lead. She is playing very patiently against Okuhara and it’s working. There was one incredible retrieval in that point.
First game, Sindhu 8-5 Okuahara: Here we go, the rallies are getting longer with every point. No surprises. The points are getting over due to errors from either player as it stands. Sindhu takes the lead again as Okuhara sends one long.
Abhijeet Kulkarni: That’s a strong start from Sindhu. She is looking to grab the initiative here. The key will be to not allow Okuhara to get into a rhythm of playing long rallies in which the Japanese controls the proceedings.
First game, Sindhu 6-3 Okuahara: Sindhu gets a referral wrong as Okuhara gets the serve back. Sindhu wins it back, then gives it away by an unforced error.
First game, Sindhu 5-1 Okuahara: First long rally of the match (we’d be seeing quite a few we guess), and it ends with Okuhara sending the shuttle wide. Sindhu makes it 5-1 after an exchange at the net.
First game, Sindhu 3-1 Okuahara: What a beautiful drop shot by Sindhu! “Simple yet effective” says the commentator. Two point lead for the Indian.
First game, Sindhu 1-1 Okuahara
Players exchange serves to start with. Back with Sindhu now.
10.43 am: Here we go. Sindhu to serve...
10.40 am: This is Sindhu’s unbeaten run to the tournament final.
10.35 am: The stage is set... the build-up is under-way. This should be a cracker! What a Sunday morning in store.
10.29 am: Sindhu has done so well reach finals regularlyin 2018 but what does she need to do to cross the finish line? Read here.
10.27 am: You know how they say “very little to choose between the two players/teams” in sport? The Sindhu vs Okuhara rivalry is the perfect example for that. Their overall H2H: 6-6 The last 6 meetings: 3-3
10.22 am: Brutal rallies, tired limbs, triumphant spirit — Okuhara vs Sindhu at Glasgow 2017 was a match for the ages. The Field’s Abhijeet Kulkarni was there to watch it live. Read here.
10.20 am: If we get a game half as good as the 2017 World Championships final, we’re in for a treat.
Throwback to that delightful epic here, in the words of Prem Panicker.
10.10 am: Sindhu credited her SF 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.
Hello all and welcome to The Field’s live blog of what is set to be another cracking game of badminton. It’s another major tournament final between PV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara!
Sindhu stayed on course for a first title of 2018 with a dominating semi-final win over Ratchanok Intanon. Sindhu, who had lost in the final of the year-end event last season in Dubai, defeated Intanon 21-16, 25-23, before Sameer Verma fought hard but finished on the losing end of a 68-minute encounter against Shi Yuqi, who won 12-21, 22-20, 21-17.
In Sunday’s final, Sindhu would face 2017 world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, who defeated her compatriot Akane Yamaguchi in straight games.