India’s PV Sindhu backed up her dominant win over Nozomi Okuhara with another strong display against Chen Yufei to storm into the final of the Indonesia Open Super 1000 tournament in Jakarta on Saturday.
The Indian rallied from the brink of losing the opening game to eventually knock out Chinese second seed Chen 21-19, 21-10 with a gritty display. The match lasted 46 minutes as Sindhu produced her second dominating performance of the tournament after the quarter-finals.
This is her first final of the year where she will face fourth seed Akane Yamaguchi.
In the opening game, the Indian fifth seed was constantly playing catch up but stayed in the fight to reel off five straight points twice. The second game turned out to be a much simpler outing as she outperformed the reigning All England champion in their semi-final encounter.
Sindhu started the match on the backfoot, trailing the Chinese player 0-3 before restoring balance at 4-4.
The Indian had a slight edge in the head-to-head coming in to the game (leading 4-3) but it was her younger opponent who looked to control the game as she raced to 7-4 after a good challenge. Sindhu’s shot had landed just millimeters outside and the moment seemed to encapsulate her mindset at the start of the match.
But the Olympic silver meadallist was not going to go without a fight. Sindhu kept catching up and went from 4-7 down to 8-8 and then took the lead for the first time, reeling off five straight points.
But the Chinese second seed pulled ahead again with after a change of shuttles and with a superb body smash, Chen went into the mid-game interval with a slender one-point lead.
The Indian stayed in the game throughout and scored a stellar point for 13-15 with a good defensive play that induced an error after blocking three smashes in a row. Chen opened up another lead at 18-14 and almost had the game but Sindhu didn’t let the errors get to her and rallied once again to win five points in a row.
A smash winner and then an overhit return got her close before she levelled with a swift return at the net. The Indian fifth seed then took a crucial lead at 19-18 staying in a tough rally with a brilliant display but then squandered a chance of a game point when a shot at the net landed wide.
After another enterprising rally, Sindhu got the first game point when Chen hit into the net. The fired-up Indian clinched the opening game 21-19 with a disguised drop shot and pumped her fist in celebration.
The second game started much like the first and Sindhu trailed 4-0 and then 3-5. But when the errors began flowing off the second seed’s racquet, Sindhu managed to break the shackles and get a good 8-5 lead.
She then raced to a 10-6 but was made to work hard before getting the next point to go into the break. She got the 11th point with a tap into the open court after Chen got the rough end of a net chord.
From then on, it was Sindhu all the way as the Chinese player faded in the second game. Sindhu raced to 18-8 with a commanding all-court game, much like against Okuhara in the second game.
The match point had a little drama of its own as Sindhu’s forehand winner to the back-court was challenged by Chen but Hawkeye ruled it in to seal the dominant win.
She won 16 of the last 24 points, 11 of the last 13 points to seal what is among her best performances this year.
She will now face Yamaguchi, who outplayed world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying earlier in straight games, in the summit clash.