Star badminton player PV Sindhu finished as the runner-up at the Indonesia Open Super 1000 tournament after losing the title clash in straight games to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in Jakarta on Sunday.

Sindhu lost the final 15-21, 16-21 to the fourth seed and former world No 1 in a match that lasted 51 minutes.

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The Olympic silver medallist had come into the contest with a favourable 10-4 head-to-head record against the Japanese. But Yamaguchi’s aggressive all-round display proved too good for Sindhu on the day.

Nevertheless, it was the best performance of the year for the world No 5 Indian, who had reached the semifinals at Singapore and India Open earlier.

Yamaguchi was aggressive from the start of the final and the first two rallies that went in favour of the Japanese shuttler were 27 and 31 shots. Sindhu managed to stay within touching distance and even went into the mid-game interval with an 11-8 lead. Trailing 8-12, Yamaguchi managed to find an extra gear and went on to dominate rest of the opening game. She won 13 of the next 16 points to clinch the first game.

The fourth seed started the second game on the front foot as well but Sindhu managed to pull things back at 4-4.

But from there on Yamaguchi kept Sindhu at arm’s length, never allowing the Indian to come closer than two points, starting at 8-6. Sindhu tried her best to keep the shuttle in play but Yamaguchi’s body smashes and lifts to Sindhu’s backhand corner made life difficult for the Indian throughout.

In the end, Yamaguchi converted her first of four match points to end a four-match losing streak against Sindhu.

This was Sindhu’s fifth loss to Yamaguchi in 15 meetings. The last time the Indian lost to the Japanese was at the semifinals of the All England Championship last year.

The defeat added to Sindhu’s list of runner-up finishes, which include silver medals at the World Championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Thailand Open and India Open last year. On the other hand, it was Yamaguchi’s third title of the season after claiming crowns at German Open and Asian Championship.

Prior to this in 2019, Sindhu reached the semifinals of Singapore Open and India Open.

The world No 5 will now turn her attention to the Japan Open, starting next week.