PV Sindhu celebrated gold at last after the Indian defeated Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara to win badminton’s season-ending World Tour Finals on Sunday in Guangzhou on Sunday.

The 23-year-old has suffered a series of near-misses in recent years, winning silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and again at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games this year. The world No 6, renowned for her never-say-die attitude, has also twice lost in the final of the World Championships and was runner-up in last year’s season finale.

While she has always maintained that it was only a matter of time before it started getting to her, and the relief was evident after she won the final point. Sindhu, who was always in control of the match, sealed the championship with a forehand smash, before collapsing to the court floor on her hands and knees.

“Somewhere, every time people have been asking the same question. I think the question won’t come again to me, asking why all the time I lose in the finals,” said Sindhu after the match. “I can say now that I have won the gold and I am really very proud of it.”

Sindhu put the heartbreak of finishing second best behind her in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, beating the fifth-ranked Okuhara 21-19, 21-17 in the women’s final in just over an hour.

“No words, it’s been a wonderful tournament for me and it’s also the year end. It’s the most memorable win of 2018 after losing in all the finals. I am really very proud,” she said. “The year has ended on a beautiful note, I would like to thank each and every body for supporting me, showing me the love. The fans coming here to Guangzhou is fantastic. I’d also like to thank my coaches, physios and sponsors.”

While the match didn’t quite reach the crazy levels of the 2017 World Championships final between these two, Sindhu was full of praise for her opponent while adding that this tournament has been great for her.

“Even Nozomi played really well. Year before last I lost in the semis, last year I was runner-up and this time I am the winner... it’s definitely a beautiful tournament for me. In the league matches I won all three and then the semis and final as well.

“[The final] was a very good match, each point was very important for us and there were long rallies. Even when I was leading, she kept coming back and fought hard. Sometimes I was remembering about the previous finals but I just thought that’s not the time for it, and started to focus again. It feels fantastic.

Asked if this was her best performance, Sindhu said it was always tough going up against the Japan shuttlers.

“Whenever I play against Okuhara or Yamaguchi, I never think it’s going to be easy. Every time we go into the court, it’s going to be tough. Today each point was important, we had (rallies of) 30 strokes, 40 strokes. It’s not easy to play against the Japanese. Okuhara played well but I just gave 100% and played all out today,” she said.

Sindhu’s focus will now shift to Premier Badminton League where she will play for Hyderbad Hunters this time around.

“For 2018, this is it [on the tour]. Will be going for PBL and I hope I do well there. Next year is going to be the Olympic qualification year so I think I have to be fit, strategise what tournaments we need to play,” she said.