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Sindhu and her inconsistency in finals - A worrying factor?

Sindhu and her inconsistency in finals - A worrying factor?

Sarthak Karkhanis

Updated: 30 July 2021 4:37 PM GMT
“Phir bhi dil hai Sindhustani” read the headline of a leading newspaper in India after PV Sindhu’s defeat to Carolina Marin in Rio Olympics 2016 Final. The agonising loss meant that the shuttler's gold medal dreams were crashed and that was hurting, as she had won the first game of the final against the Spaniard. What followed in the next 24 months was a series of losses in the finals for Sindhu and every time, questions kept coming up “Does Sindhu choke in the Final?” Rio Olympics 2016, World Championships 2017, Superseries Finals 2017, Commonwealth Games 2018, Asian Games 2018, World Championships 2018 were the major finals lost by the Hyderabadi but the positive was that she was the most consistent player in the circuit and reaching the ultimate stage of the tournament frequently at majors besides winning the Korea Open Superseries, India Open Superseries and China Open Superseries Premier.
Three of the six finals Sindhu lost went into the third game, which included the Rio Olympics 2016 Final, 2017 World Championship Final against Okuhara and 2017 Superseries Final loss to Yamaguchi. While she lost the 3rd game in Rio by the scoreline 15-21, the deciding games against the Okuhara and Yamaguchi were tough losing the games by 20-22 and 19-21 respectively. But fortunately for Sindhu, after these losses in between 2016-2018, the 2018 Superseries Finals came just in time to quash all the ‘Final jinx’ doubts. “Somewhere, every time people have been asking the same question. I think the question won’t come again to me, asking why all the time I lose in the finals,” said a relieved Sindhu after the match. “I can say now that I have won the gold and I am really very proud of it.”
Even the then 23-year-old didn't deny that thoughts of losing the previous finals kept coming up in her mind during the match against Yamaguchi. “[The final] was a very good match, each point was very important for us and there were long rallies. Even when I was leading, she kept coming back and fought hard. Sometimes I was remembering about the previous finals but I just thought that’s not the time for it, and started to focus again. It feels fantastic.” After the win in BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou in December, Sindhu didn't make it to the Final of any of the 6 tournaments she participated until the Indonesia Masters. She made it to the Final 4 in 2 of those tournaments. With a loss in last week’s Indonesia Masters, against Yamaguchi in straight sets, the inconsistency in Sindhu’s performances in Finals is clear but the nation will hope that ahead of the World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, Sindhu reaches the Final and changes the colour of her 2017 medal.
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