Indonesia Open 2019 final, PV Sindhu vs Akane Yamaguchi as it happened: Japanese wins 21-15, 21-16
PV Sindhu was the only Indian in action on the final day of the Indonesia Open.
2.55 pm: It was not to be for PV Sindhu today but a first silver medal of 2019 indicates a welcome return to form ahead of some big tournaments coming up... including the Worlds. A good week for her, overall. That’s all from us. Hope you enjoyed our coverage.
Second game stats: Akane Yamaguchi dictated the tempo in the second game as well and kept Sindhu at an arm’s length throughout. The former world No 1 was just a bit too good.
Abhijeet Kulkarni: Sindhu couldn’t find the rhythm she had in the quarters and semis and credit to Yamaguchi for keeping her quiet.
PV Sindhu 15-21, 16-21 Akane Yamaguchi: Japanese star wins her first INDONESIA OPEN!
What a performance from the former world No 1. Another aggressive rally from Yamaguchi fittingly gives her the game and match. Sindhu’s wait for a title in 2019 continues... but this has been a good week for her.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 16-20 Akane Yamaguchi
A quickfire point from Yamaguchi after the break and Sindhu is now two points away from defeat! She judges the length of the shuttle well at the baseline to take back the serve. But sends a lift well long! Yamaguchi has four match points.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 15-18 Akane Yamaguchi
A break in play as Sindhu once again closes the gap down to three points. Yamaguchi needs some attention on her knees... looks like she scraped it. Sindhu has the serve.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 14-18 Akane Yamaguchi
Is that a bit of tiredness creeping into Yamaguchi’s game? She has worked so hard around the court in this match and she takes her own time to get up after being floored by a jump smash from Sindhu. The Indian is still not out of this if she keeps her discipline.... and as we say that, Sindhu sends the shuttle wide.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 13-17 Akane Yamaguchi
Wrong challenge from Yamaguchi this time and Sindhu has a window of opportunity. But yet again the body attack from Yamaguchi pays off for her.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 12-16 Akane Yamaguchi
WOW. 51-shot rally! Super from both the players. Shame it had to end with Sindhu misjudging the shuttle at the baseline... not for the first time. Yamaguchi has been just a bit too good. Sindhu gets the serve back now and needs a run of points.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 11-15 Akane Yamaguchi
Sindhu misses an overhead but the shuttle went wide!! Smile on Sindhu’s face... is that bit of the luck that Sindhu needed to turn this around?
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 10-15 Akane Yamaguchi
Frustration writ large on Sindhu’s face as an error gives her opponent a four-point lead just when she was trying to wrestle back some initiative. A superb challenge from Yamaguchi this time gives her a 5-point lead.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 9-12 Akane Yamaguchi
We are at the reverse of where we were in the first game at 12-8 with the Japanese star leading. Can Sindhu produce a turnaround like her opponent? She tries to do just that with a superb jump smash, needs more of that.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 8-11 Akane Yamaguchi
Yamaguchi goes up 10-6 with a smash right on Sindhu’s face! The Indian has showed more initiative in the last few points but Yamaguchi goes into the break with a three point advantage at 11-8. Can Sindhu fightback?
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 6-9 Akane Yamaguchi
There is no simply respite for Sindhu at the moment... she is trying to will herself on. But the pressure from Yamaguchi is a bit too much to handle at the moment.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 4-6 Akane Yamaguchi
The second game has followed the same pattern so far. Yamaguchi started strong with a string of points but Sindhu has fought back with good defensive display. There was a stunning retrieval by Sindhu at 3-4. 4-4 now and Yamaguchi turns on the aggression again, dominating the forecourt.
Second game, PV Sindhu 15-21, 2-4 Akane Yamaguchi
Sindhu has started the second game on the backfoot as well and Yamaguchi continues to dictate the tempo.
Abhijeet Kulkarni: Yamaguchi changed gears in the second half of the game and started attacking Sindhu a lot more. The downward attacked worked very well as she takes the opening game.
First game stats: PV Sindhu was leading 12-8 at one point and from there, the former world No 1 just found a whole new gear or two to romp through the first game. Tough task ahead for Sindhu now.
PV Sindhu 15-21 Akane Yamaguchi - Yamaguchi draws first blood!
Wow, Sindhu’s game has just unravelled. 8 straight points for Yamaguchi! She has six game points, Sindhu saves one but the Japanese converts the second. That escalated quickly!
First game, PV Sindhu 14-18 Akane Yamaguchi
10 of the last 12 points for Yamaguchi! The commentators reckon Sindhu has been rattled. It’s all being dominated by Yamaguchi now.
First game, PV Sindhu 14-15 Akane Yamaguchi
Errors starting to creep into Sindhu’s as Yamaguchi stays within touching distance. The Japanese however has lost both her challenges now. Yamaguchi levels things up once again as Sindhu seemingly challenges one for just a break! That was way long. Both players out of challenges now and then Sindhu makes a backhand error with Yamaguchi increasingly targetting that corner. Pressure on Sindhu!
First game, PV Sindhu 13-11 Akane Yamaguchi
Sindhu takes the first point after the break but Yamaguchi is fighting back! Aided by one careless error from Sindhu, she wins three on the trot. And then Sindhu benefits from an error at the net by the Japanese.
First game, PV Sindhu 11-8 Akane Yamaguchi
Yamaguchi misses an inside-out smash and Sindhu has a 10-8 lead after a long rally. Another superb rally follows! Yamaguchi might have thought she won the point with an inch-perfect crosscourt dribble at the net but Sindhu lunges forward brilliantly to lift it back... and the rally finishes with an error from the Japanese. Sindhu has the lead at the mid-game interval.
First game, PV Sindhu 9-8 Akane Yamaguchi
Yamaguchi takes the lead back with two straight points and then Sindhu’s turn to level the scores and she brings out the loudest fist bump of the day yet. Then it’s Yamaguchi’s turn to challenge a call at the baseline, she gets one wrong. And again, just about! Sindhu back in front. What a tight contest this is.
First game, PV Sindhu 7-6 Akane Yamaguchi
Yamaguchi levels things back as Sindhu unsuccessfully challenges a sideline call. It was mighty close, just landed in. Sindhu leaves well on the right sideline this time and takes back a 6-5 lead. Yamaguchi once again levels the score with the lift to Sindhu’s left... but misses a smash with the point there for the taking.
Abhijeet Kulkarni: Yamaguchi has been aggressive from the start and the first two rallies were 27 and 31 shots. But Sindhu has come back strong, controlling the rallies to take a 5-3 lead
First game, PV Sindhu 5-3 Akane Yamaguchi
Five straight points for PV Sindhu! Leads 5-3 after a superb 1-2 punch at the net with a drop followed by a body smash.
First game, PV Sindhu 3-3 Akane Yamaguchi
And now three straight points for PV Sindhu! That’s much better from the Indian. Gets on board with a delightful crosscourt drop and then makes it 3-3 with a well-placed push to the backcourt.
First game, PV Sindhu 0-3 Akane Yamaguchi
A 27-shot rally to start off and wow, a bizarre leave from Sindhu! She completely misjudges the shuttle on the left sideline (and the shuttle falls to her right!!) Another long rally follows and another leave by Sindhu that lands in (or she might not have reached that anyway). Not the best of starts for the Indian.
1.56 pm: Correction, Yamaguchi will serve.
1.55 pm: Can PV Sindhu make it five wins on the trot against Akane Yamaguchi? Here we go! Sindhu to serve...
1.52 pm: A look at the meetings between Sindhu and Yamaguchi since 2017.
1.50 pm: Out walk the players for the final! After an impressive win over Nozomi Okuhara in the last eight on Friday, Sindhu produced another stunning performance with a straight-game win over All England Champion Chen Yufei on Saturday. Now, it’s a repeat of 2018 World Championships semifinal. This is, by the way, the fourth final of the year for Yamaguchi.
1.45 pm: Sindhu holds a clear advantage from past meetings, leading 10-4 overall and having won the last 4 matches. But make no mistake, today’s going to be a tough match.
1.22 pm: Incidentally, both Sindhu and Yamaguchi will be eyeing their first Indonesia Open title. Sindhu will be hoping to follow Saina Nehwal, who enjoyed playing in Jakarta herself. For the Indian fifth seed, a title has proved elusive so far in 2019. She will be hoping to end that wait as well.
1.41 pm: Fukushima and Hirota storm back from 10-17 down in the 2nd game to win the final in straight games! They defend their title in some style. Now, next up, is Akane Yamaguchi vs PV Sindhu.
1.32 pm: Sindhu and Yamaguchi will take to the court after the all-Japanese women’s doubles final... which is fascinatingly poised at the moment. Fukushima / Hirota won the first game and then Matsuaki and Takahashi looked set to force the decider at 17-11 in the 2nd game. But the defending champs have come roaring back to lead 19-18.
1.31 pm: Sindhu, who has been struggling a bit this season, showed her brilliance once again as she saw off world No 3 Chen 21-19, 21-10 in just 46 minutes.
“I played semifinals in Indian Open and in Singapore but couldn’t cross that [so far in 2019],” Sindhu told reporters after her win. “Ups and downs are always there, I learned from my mistakes and came back stronger. First final this year, so I hope I don’t leave this opportunity and get the gold medal.”
1.18 pm: We’ll talk a bit more about Sindhu’s form shortly, but first, a word on her opponent today. Akane Yamaguchi soundly beat Taiwan’s world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying to reach the women’s final.
Yamaguchi, who is ranked world number four, defeated an out-of-sorts Tai 21-9, 21-15 in a little over 30 minutes at Jakarta’s Istora Senayan Stadium.
“This is my first Indonesian Open final – I’m very happy,” Yamaguchi had said after the match.
It was a performance that made a fair few jaws drop, alright.
1.10 pm: Hello all and welcome to our live coverage of the Indonesia Open women’s singles final where PV Sindhu takes on Akane Yamaguchi in a quest to lift the prestigious Super 1000 title. This is Sindhu’s first final of 2019 and she will be keen to get that elusive title ahead of the World Championships.
After an impressive win over Nozomi Okuhara in the last eight, Sindhu produced another stunning performance with a straight-games win over All England Champion Chen Yufei in Jakarta on Saturday. It was a performance that made a statement of sorts: she has found her form back and how. Chen has been the most prolific women’s singles player in 2019 and Sindhu made it look easy against a mighty tough opponent.
Her task will only be tougher on Sunday as he faces No 4 seed Akane Yamaguchi who produced a performance even more incredible than Sindhu’s in the semi-final. The Japanese former world No 1 outclassed none other than the current world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying in just over half an hour. It was a performance for the ages.
All signs, then, point to a cracker today.