PV Sindhu falls at Okuhara hurdle at All England Open

Indian badminton ace lost to her Japanese opponent in a tiring three-game match that lasted for over an hour.

By Naveen Peter ·

Indian badminton ace PV Sindhu bowed out of the All England Open Badminton Championships following her loss to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the quarter-finals on Friday. 

In a match that lasted for over an hour, the Japanese rallied in a fine manner to beat the Indian badminton star 12-21, 21-15, 21-13. She will take on the world number one Chen Yufei of China on Saturday.

On Friday, Okuhara’s road to the semi-final was anything but an easy one as PV Sindhu was quick to gain control of the last-eight tie in no time. 

Banking on her wide array of shots and using her power and precision to great effect, the Indian badminton ace barely took time to race to an 11-6 lead and call in the mid-game interval. 

PV Sindhu was aggressive in her approach as she kept her opponent rooted to the backcourt and ensured that she extended the rallies long enough to eke out mistakes from Okuhara’s racquet.

On the rare occasion when Okuhara had the serve, the Indian would bring her powerful smashes to play on the service return, barely allowing the Japanese any time to muster a reply.

Sindhu was the dominant of the two in the opening game, dictating the pace of the rallies and controlling the match in a fine fashion. This dominance was also visible on the scoreline as the Indian took the opener 21-12 in 18 minutes. 

PV Sindhu fails to build on

But just when it looked like PV Sindhu would go on to build on the momentum, Okuhara changed the tide in her favour with some subtle tweaks to her game. 

Often found wanting with her serves deep into the court, the Japanese switched to shorter serves in the second game, forcing the Indian badminton ace to find a way to create an opening for her winners. 

But with Okuhara relying on her efficient retrieving skills, PV Sindhu found it too difficult to kill the rallies and often found the net or pushed the shuttle out of bounds to hand her opponent the point.

From there on, the Japanese controlled the pace of the match as she glided around the court to return everything that Sindhu threw at her to draw level with a quality show that lasted for about 25 minutes.

Back in the tie after a top-notch show in the previous game, Okuhara ensured that she didn’t let the match slip from her grasp as she tested and probed PV Sindhu with some delightful shots.

Targeting her weaker backhand, the final game also saw Okuhara push PV Sindhu to a corner before finishing the rally with a controlled shot across the court that had the Indian searching for answers after a stunning 36-shot rally.

It was no surprise that a dominant show in her own humble and gracious way ended with Okuhara marching into the last-four of the All England Open.