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Badminton

Syed Modi International 2022: Can PV Sindhu finally win a title in a depleted field?

Starved of a title since her 2019 World Championships win, a consistent PV Sindhu is hungry for a title win and Syed Modi will act as the perfect hunting ground.

PV Sindhu reaches semifinal of the Badminton Asia Championships
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PV Sindhu reaches semifinal of the Badminton Asia Championships

By

Sohinee

Published: 18 Jan 2022 2:20 PM GMT

The clock really is ticking for PV Sindhu - the double Olympic medallist and erstwhile World Champion, for now. There is no pointing a finger on PV Sindhu's consistency - she has been doing well on the badminton circuit for the major part of 2021 and 2022 also started with a semi-final finish at the India Open - but a title is severely missing from Sindhu's collection.

Playing the Syed Modi International 2022 in New Delhi, PV Sindhu will be the top seed in a field that is greatly depleted of top players as most players have either withdrawn (owing to COVID-19 issues and exhaustation from the India Open) or are simply not participating in the BWF Super 300 event taking place at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium.

Like tennis GOAT Serena Williams coming so dangerously close to winning a 24th Grand Slam that would equate her with Margaret Court, likewise, Sindhu is also falling short at the end-point in being able to lift a title. As is Sindhu's usual affair, she goes ahead to outshine at the big tournaments which she did when she finished as the silver medallist at the BWF World Tour Finals but at the World Championships in Huelva, Spain, Sindhu failed to go past old foe Tai Tzu-ying in the quarter-finals.

But it was the August of 2019 when PV Sindhu had last tasted complete success, winning gold and the crown at the World Championships in Basel, where she defeated Nozomi Okuhara in the finals. It is 2022 now and 2019 seems like a whole eternity ago given that we are in the third year of pandemic - and Sindhu's consistency, may be greatly admirable, but it is yet to transform in the form a gold in recent history.

At the India Open as well in New Delhi, PV Sindhu didn't have any large threat for her, given that she is World No. 7 on the BWF rankings. Yet into the semi-finals, Thailand's Supanida Katethong, ranked 30 in the world, ended up defeating the former World Champion, 14-21, 21-13, 10-21 after the lanky Hyderabadi shuttler had an off day at work. Therefore, with most other top Indian players already having withdrawn, Sindhu has a fair share of advantage on her side and is the favourite to win this tournament.

Assam's Ashmita Chaliha, who briefly challenged Sindhu in their quarter final clash, has shown exceptional form at the India Open, but withdrew as well. Saina Nehwal also steered clear of Syed Modi as she is still recovering from her injuries, second seeded Canadian Michelle Li will also not be there. Busanan Ongbamrungphan, the India Open champion, is also going to be absent although Supanida and Aakarshi Kashyap remain in the frame.

At this point, stripped off major names at the BWF Super 300 event, the Syed Modi International seems no better than a regular National Championship given the flock of Indian badminton players now present in the mix. However, Sindhu is literally at the cusp of winning always - she only needs to find it in herself to extract those victories and for her own sake, win a title again.

Fair enough, the Syed Modi International does not have immensely strong players but Sindhu, as usual doesn't have much to lose but a lot of mental boost to gain from a title win - which is perhaps why the Park Tae-sang coached player is hot on the quest for in Lucknow where she opens her campaign against Tanya Hemanth, a World No. 132 player on 19th January 2022. She might get to square off against Supanida in the quarter-finals and take on Russia's Evgeniya Kosetskaya in the semi-finals, who offer good competition.

All PV Sindhu needs to do this week is therefore is to make the most of this opportunity that presents itself before her in the form of the Syed Modi International. With the All England Open the next-big tournament in March, a win right now will act as a wonderful psychological boost to the former World No. 2 player who is definitely hungry for a title and what better place than the home soil to get that victory on?

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