PV Sindhu will be the favourite to win bronze at Tokyo Olympics — Parupalli Kashyap
Even though PV Sindhu lost the semi-finals to Tai Tzu-ying and missed out on the gold chance, Parupalli Kashyap believes the World No. 7 is the favourite for bronze.
Despite a straight game semi-final defeat against Tai Tzu-Ying Parupalli Kashyap backs Sindhu to win a bronze medal in Tokyo Olympics.
The Indian fans were heartbroken after PV Sindhu's semi-final defeat against World No.1 Tai Tzu-Ying of Chinese Taipei. The Rio Olympics silver medallist lost in straight games and tasted her first defeat in Tokyo Olympics failing to replicate her performance of the previous Olympics where she reached the final. Despite the heart breaking defeat all is not lost for the reigning world champion as she will now face He Bingjiao of China in the bronze medal match.
Ranked two places lower than Sindhu, Bingjiao lost her semi-final match against her country's Chen Yufei in a three game battle. But the kind of form PV Sindhu has been in right from the start of Tokyo Olympics enroute to the semi-final the Olympian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap is backing her to win the match and bring home the bronze medal.
"I think all medals won by her and so many achievements of her are great. I am sure she will try and recover from the semi-final match and concentrate on the match against He Bingjiao because medal in the Olympics is huge and she has the opportunity to win it and she will enter the match as a favourite against He Bingjiao according to me." said Olympian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap in an exclusive conversation with The Bridge.
Just like against Tai Tzu-Ying, PV Sindhu trails in head-to-head encounters against He Bingjiao but her record is slightly better against the Chinese winning only 6 out off 15 matches and losing 9. He Bingjiao has also been in decent form as she beat 2017 World Champion Nozomi Okuhara en route to her semi-final match.
Being in a bronze medal match in Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi after losing the semi-final to Rajiv Ouseph of England, Kashyap knows how tough it is for any badminton player to recover from a semi-final defeat and re-focus on the important match which is played the very next day as the loss can be mentally sapping and can also leave the player with the scars of defeat of the previous match.
"The bronze medal match is going to be extremely tough because when you are playing the semi-final you want to get to the final and that gives you a lot of relief that you have come to the Olympics to win a medal and you want to get through to the final is your goal. I remember being in the bronze medal matches so you have to prepare very much mentally. Forget about the previous match and it is as tough as it is very much easy to tell this but as one person to experience this situation in 2010 Delhi and in 2014. It is extremely tough. You have to mentally re-focus, get rid of all the negativities and just stay positive and fight. He Bingjiao is also playing well in this tournament and she beat Okuhara in the quarterfinals. So, she is also in decent form so Sindhu will have to fight the way she did and if she does that then she will have a positive result." explained the 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion Parupalli Kashyap to The Bridge.
PV Sindhu's form where she beat each and every opponent in straight games en route to the semi-final raised the expectation of the Indian fans but it all came down crashing after a defeat in the semi-final match. Sindhu looked no match to Tai Tzu-Ying after losing the opening game but Parupalli Kashyap believes that the world number one played an exceptional match.
"Yes, everyone was expecting PV Sindhu to win but she was up against Tai Tzu-Ying. You have to consider her ranking and going into the match you can't say that Sindhu was the favourite. It would be unfair to say that although in the last two major events I think which is the Super Series final and Sindhu beat her but still you play 15 to 20 tournaments a year where you get to play each other often. You expect Sindhu to give her best which she has already been doing but it was all depending on Tai's performance in the match because she has been an exceptional player almost unplayable but when it used to be major events somehow she used to falter. She won the Asian Games gold though." said Parupalli Kashyap on Sindhu's defeat.
What also came as a huge disappointment for all the badminton lovers rooting for the Hyderabadi shuttler was the fact that she was leading 11-8 in the first game and the reigning Asian Games champion Tai Tzu Ying showed great character and levelled the scoreline making it 18-18 and then racing away with the first game 21-18. Once the world number one won the opening game then there was no stopping for her as she dominated the second game and won it comfortably by a big margin of 21-13 sealing her place in the final.
"In the opening game Tai was scoring by putting in a lot of effort and Sindhu was able to score because of Tai Tzu-Ying's mistake and that is usually the strategy with Tai most of the time where you push her for pace and wait for the errors which she makes because I feel so many a times she reaches the positions where there are so many options to her shots and it looks also very risky. It is almost the toughest shot. So, that option she will choose the toughest shot. It is not that she is not having time it is the decision which she makes quickly and tries to play those extraordinary shots and there were a lot of errors from the net and a lot of shots going out and Tai is that kind of a player and the errors go she just looks an amazing player. And in the second game she got a 3-4 point lead and she was completely a different player as everything was just perfect and when Sindhu was running close I thought she had a chance. Winning the first game for Sindhu would have made a huge difference to the match but Sindhu fought really well in the first game and in the first game someone like Tai makes a few mistakes in the first game." explained Parupalli Kashyap.
The defeat certainly means that Sindhu can neither better her previous Olympic performance record and nor can equal it. But she can still contribute to India's medals tally by winning a bronze medal and for that she will have to beat China's He Bingjiao who is currently ranked 9th in BWF Women's singles ranking. The Hyderabadi shuttler still has a chance to end with a podium finish in Olympics and if she does so then she will be the second Indian after wrestler Sushil Kumar to win 2 medals at the showpiece event.