Badminton

PV Sindhu avenges world championships loss by beating Nozomi Okuhara in final of Korea Open

The world No 4 won in three games 22-20, 11-21, 21-18 in a match that lasted one hour and 23 minutes.

It went to three games yet again but the result was reversed this time around as PV Sindhu emerged victorious in her rematch against Nozomi Okuhara on Sunday. The world No 4 avenged her three-game defeat to the Japanese in the final of the world championships last month by beating her in as many games in the summit clash of the Korea Open Superseries. Sindhu won 22-20, 11-21, 21-18 in a match that lasted an hour and 23 minutes.

Sunday’s match was nowhere close to that epic one-hour-50-minute marathon world championship final, which Okuhara had won 21-19, 20-22, 22-20, in terms of intensity. But it was still an extremely watchable affair as both players traded blows and refused to give up right till the very end.

Okuhara started the match looking the more pumped up out of the two players but Sindhu still managed to keep up with her right till the end of the first game. Okuhara had two game-point opportunities at 20-18, before Sindhu won four points in a row to take the first game 22-20.

Any hopes of Sindhu closing out the match in two games were washed away soon enough, though, as the Indian almost switched off in the second game. Okuhara had a sizeable 11-6 lead at the mid-game interval and extended it further as she won the game comprehensively 21-11 to force a decider.

Sindhu recovered her rhythm in the final game as the two players went neck-and-neck at the beginning. The Indian soon broke free as she took a big 11-5 lead into the interval to put the pressure on the Japanese. However, if Sindhu would have learnt anything over the last month, it is that Okuhara never gives up no matter how far she trails.

The world No 9 dipped into her reserve tank and made Sindhu fight for every single point from then. Okuhara slowly closed down the gap, from six points to four and then to two at 16-18. This led to the longest rally of the match – at 56 shots – which ended in Sindhu’s favour as she made it 19-16. That became 20-17 and then 20-18 before Sindhu finally closed it out in 83 minutes to win her second Superseries title of the year.

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