HYDERABAD: The dice rolled in fifth seed PV Sindhu’s favour once again. For the third time in a row, the 20-year-old Hyderabadi struck gold at the Macau Open Grand Prix tournament, powering past sixth seed Minatsu Mitani (Japan) 21-9, 21-23, 21-14 in 66 minutes in Macau on Sunday.
Sindhu scripted history by becoming the first player to notch up a hat-trick of titles in this tournament. There was a sigh of relief as it was her first title of the year. “It is a lucky city for me. To win three successive titles is something which I can cherish for a long time. I’m very happy that I could win a title this year,” Sindhu told Express from Macau. It was a moment of sweet revenge for the Indian, as she had lost to Mitani in the Japan Open Super Series recently. Also, Sindhu had missed competitive badminton for the first half of the year because of a navicular stress fracture on her left leg which she suffered in February. “It was unfortunate. I had to work hard to get back in good form. My last few matches were quite competitive. I’m happy with the way I’m playing. The strokes are coming off very well and I’m able to move confidently.”
Coach Pullela Gopichand said it was a major accomplishment for Sindhu. “She has been struggling with injuries. But, she fought back gallantly. She has got back her rhythm. That is very important. This title could take her a long way, since it is all about getting back in good form before the Rio Olympics.” Sindhu dominated the final, although she ran into rough weather in the second game. “I was able to control the game very well. In the first game, I took a 15-6 lead and that was enough for me to win it.” However, in the second game, a few unforced errors by Sindhu helped Mitani level the match. “There were long rallies. I committed a few mistakes. She took a 16-14 lead, but I managed to stretch the game.” A fast-moving Sindhu, who beat second seed Akane Yamaguchi in the semifinals, was more methodical in the third game. “I played a more tight game and took the shuttle early. I ensured that I was not complacent and in the process could win points to clinch the third game,” she said.
The World No 12 — whose next destination is Indonesia — feels she still has a few chinks. “It is Olympic qualification year and so every tournament is important. I’m aware I’m losing a few close matches. I have to tighten my defence. Otherwise, I have improved in my game and fitness.”