India's top-ranked badminton player and world no. 6 P V Sindhu registered her only win today at the year-ending BWF World Tour Finals after defeating Chinese world no. 7 He Bingjiao 21-19, 21-19 on Friday in Guangzhou, China. With two defeats in a row earlier, the defending champion Sindhu, however, fails to reach the next round.
The opening game saw the Chinese taking on an early lead. Mistimed shots and errors went on costing Sindhu points after points as she trailed 6-11 at the interval. Bingjiao kept on extending her lead with her fluent shots across the shots to 9-18. Sindhu held on to her nerves, pulled off an unbelievable come back to pick up nine points and to equalised at 18-18. A tough challenge ensued as Sindhu took the lead at 20-19 and eventually won the game with a brilliant smash that the Chinese failed to return.
A close contest unfolded from the beginning of the second game. But Sindhu capitalised on her powerful smashes and a sequence of error of her opponents and took her lead to 11-6. She further inched closed towards winning the match with scoreline going to 15-9. Bigjiao picked up consecutive points to make it 16-13 and later closing in at 18-16. A long rally, where Sindhu kept herself in control, led her to pick up another point. And eventually she had three match points but finished off at 21-19.
The defending champion at the World Tour finals, Sindhu had shown streaks of her brilliance during the 2018 tournament where she took down quality opponents like Akane Yamaguchi, Tai Tzu Ying, and Beiwen Zhang and crushed the challenge from Ratchanok Itnanon and eventually, Nozomi Okuhara to claim the title.
Owing to her lacklustre performance in 2019, Sindhu would have missed out on the chance to enter the World Tour Finals had she not been crowned as the World Champion earlier this year in Basel. The ace Hyderabadi player was drawn in Group A alongside China’s Chen Yufei, He Bingjiao, and Yamaguchi. In her opening match, Japan’s world no. 4 Akane Yamaguchi pulled off a mighty comeback to defeat Sindhu in their opening match 18-21, 21-18, 21-8 in a match lasting for 1 hour and 8 minutes. Earlier yesterday, Sindhu lost to a mighty Chen Yufei who got the better off the Indian in a nail-biting three-game thriller 20-22, 21-16, 21-12. It was sheer dominance by the Chinese in the second set that pushed the match into a decider, helping Yufei channel her aggressive gameplay into playing a brilliant flat game to trap the World No. 6 Sindhu.