NEW DELHI: There was a moment in the second set of the women’s singles semifinal between PV Sindhu and He Bingjiao that summed up the match. The Chinese was leading 11-10 when she hit the shuttle a little too hard. It looked like it was going out and Sindhu was tracking back just in case. But suddenly, she was not sure.
The Rio Olympic silver medallist, in an attempt to play it safe, swung her racquet and in doing so, the shuttle hit her racquet and went behind the court. That was not the first mistake Sindhu committed on Saturday as she bowed out of the India Open after going down 23-21, 21-18. “I actually left it but I thought of taking it from down. But it already touched my racquet. I was waiting for the shuttle till it came down,” she later reflected.
In the first set, Sindhu was leading 20-16 and could have wrapped things up. But a lack of judgement allowed Bingjiao to come back and take the set 23-21. Bingjiao has now recorded four back-to-back wins against Sindhu and leads the overall head-to-head 9-5. While Sindhu said that she had a different strategy, things just did not fall her way. “I could have taken the first set where I was leading 20-16. That was crucial for me. Even in the second set, there were crucial mistakes towards the end when the score was 16-15 or 17-16.”
Throughout the match, Sindhu’s body language suggested that she was exhausted physically and mentally. It looked like she was trying to hurry things after the first set. Her coach Gopichand, too, was constantly asking her to slow down. While her net game has been good of late, that too was not working for her. “It was anybody’s game in the first set. She got lucky in the last two points. After losing the first set, I was a little nervous. Maybe I could have been much more patient.”
Results (semis): Men’s Singles: K Srikanth (INDx3) bt H Yuxiang (CHN) 16-21, 21-14, 21-19; V Axelsen (DENx2) bt P Kashyap (IND) 21-11, 21-17. Women’s Singles: H Bingjiao (CHNx3) bt PV Sindhu (IND x2) 23-21, 21-18; R Intanon (THAx4) bt H Yue (CHNx7) 21-15, 19-21, 21-18.