Ace Indian shuttler P V Sindhu's dream of reclaiming victory at the ongoing BWF World Tour Finals 2019 in Guangzhou, China remained unfulfilled as a mighty Chen Yufei got the better off the Indian in a nail-biting three-game thriller 22-20, 16-21, 12-21. 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.
Trailing 11-15 in the first set, Sindhu hit back to take six straight points to make it 17-18, but Yufei soon went into the break with a slender 20-17 lead. Sindhu held on to her nerves as rallies unfurled with both playing their best badminton and took the game to 20-21. World No. 6 Sindhu then hammered a winning smash down the court to pull off a stunning turnaround to win the game. What worked for Sindhu was how she was not giving away any easy angles to the Chinese to work with and kept her flat strokes extremely tight.
Sindhu forged an early three-point lead in the second game at 6-4 but the Chinese reigned to gain a seven-point cushioning of 11-7 at the interval. Yufei caught Sindhu on the back foot and took an unassailable 19-12 lead. Wrong judgements and shot errors further cost the Indian points. Though Sindhu was making the most of the half-chances, the 21-year-old’s tenacity further swayed the match away from Sindhu who trailed 9-11 at the interval. Yufei dug deep as she was all over the Indian in the second game and took the match to go through a decider.
Sindhu conceded three early points to a rampaging Yufei in the decisive game, but she soon took charge to equalise at 6-6. Sindhu's elegance with smashes helped her equalise the set. The interval continued on a competitive note with neither of the two being able to get a lead of more than four points. With the second set already in her pocket, Yufei capitalised the advantage in the third set and made the most of Sindhu's frayed nerves, making an exit with an overall thumping win 21-12.
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 has been drawn in Group A alongside China’s Chen Yufei, He Bingjiao, and Yamaguchi. Sindhu will play Yufei tomorrow and the top two shuttlers from the group will march into the next round.