Back in Basel after her 2019 World Championship gold, PV Sindhu reached her first final of a BWF Tour event since as she entered the summit clash at the Swiss Open Super 300 event on Saturday. She will face top seed Carolina Marin.
However, Sindhu will be the sole Indian interest on Sunday. Srikanth Kidambi’s run ended in the final four when he lost in straight games against top seed Viktor Axelsen. Men’s doubles second seeds Satwiksairaj Ranikreddy and Chirag Shetty lost against Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen, also in straight games.
This tournament is the first on the BWF calendar in the restructure Olympic qualification schedule that extends to mid-June this year.
Sindhu pulled off a straight-games semi-final win against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, beating the fourth seed 22-20, 21-10 in 43 minutes to avenge her first-round loss to the world No 12 at the Yonex Thailand Open in January.
This is Sindhu’s first final appearance since the World championships in 2019 where she will face a familiar rival in Marin. The Spaniard has been in red-hot form in 2021 but she was pushed all the way by Thai rising star Pornpawee Chochuwong in a thrilling semi-final. Marin squandered two match points in game two and then two more in game three, before winning 21-15, 20-22, 21-19 in 76 minutes.
This is will be Sindhu and Marin’s first match on the BWF tour since January 2019 and the 14th meeting overall. Marin leads their head-to-head 8-5.
After a sedate start, Olympic silver medallist Sindhu dished out a superlative performance to outclass Blichfeldt. A close first game saw both players make far too many errors to their liking but Sindhu just ran away with it in the second. Blichfeldt not only made more errors in the second game but was missing the lines by some distance while Sindhu tightened up her game.
For former champion Srikanth, the task was always going to be tough against the in-form Axelsen.
The Dane, who is also a former world No 1, is arguably the best in the game right now with Kento Momota not in action. He showed his superiority by opening up a 6-0 lead in the first game. Srikanth recovered from a 4-11 deficit but his improvement did not come in time for a serious threat.
In the second game, despite slipping to a 3-11 scoreline at the mid-game interval, Srikanth showed great character and determination to fight back. On the back of five straight points after the break, Srikanth made it 17-17 and then 18-18. But Axelsen held his nerve to complete a 21-13, 21-19 win.
The second game performance, however, should offer confidence to Srikanth as he hopes to make it to the top 16 in the Race to Tokyo rankings.
In the last semi-final on Saturday, Satwik-Chirag were off to a start similar to theirs in the last eight on Saturday where they struggled in the opening game. The Danes were far too tactical while the errors were aplenty from the Indians as they lost the first game 10-21. The second game was a much closer affair and it seemed another fightback was on the cards for the world No 10-ranked pair. But the Danish duo held on to win the match 10-21, 17-21 in 44 minutes.
Swiss Open Super 300 finals will be brodcast on the Star Network / Disney+ Hotstar starting at 3.30 pm IST on Sunday.
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