With top names like Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy already getting knocked out in the opening round of the USD 400,000 tournament, the onus was on PV Sindhu to keep India’s flag flying at Jakarta’s Istora Senayan.
However, the world no. 6 couldn’t reach the quarter-finals as Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi got the better of her to win the match 16-21, 21-16, 21-19, which lasted one hour and six minutes.
Industrious PV Sindhu takes first game
It was never going to be easy for PV Sindhu against Sayaka Takahashi. The 27-year-old Japanese shuttler, who defeated Saina Nehwal on Wednesday to thwart a potential all-Indian second-round clash between Sindhu and her compatriot, was tenacious in her approach from the very beginning and the Indian had to act accordingly.
Despite PV Sindhu staying on top for the most part of the first game, Takahashi never allowed her Indian counterpart to run away with it. The biggest lead PV Sindhu could take throughout the game was four points at 11-7, midway in the game.
Takahashi, though, came back strongly soon after to narrow it down to 12-11. PV Sindhu’s next four-point burst came later in the game when she was leading 19-15 with the game almost in her pocket. The 14h ranked Japanese couldn’t really recover from that as she retrieved only one more point before losing the game 16-21.
Takahashi gets it right
After coming close in the first game, it was time for the Japanese to execute it correctly this time. And she did well, as the second game was decided in the initial few points where Takahashi went on to win seven on the trot before PV Sindhu could even open her account.
Though PV Sindhu did well to win quick points and reduce the deficit to 4-8 at one point, Takahashi accelerated yet again to lead at the break by seven points in 11-4. The game still looked salvageable for the Indian after she won consecutive points to take the scoreline to 16-11, but the Japanese wasn’t letting this chance go. She levelled the match by winning the second game 21-16.
PV Sindhu loses thrilling decider
PV Sindhu didn’t repeat the same mistake she did in the second game. After Takahashi began strongly yet again with a 3-0 lead, the Indian hit back and won three of her own to level the score. From thereon, things remained extremely close and PV Sindhu trailed at the break by just one point at 10-11.
The trend didn’t change following the break as the shuttlers kept leapfrogging each other on the scoreboard until it read 18-18. Takahashi won two on the trot to lead 20-18 as she sniffed the win for the first time, and although PV Sindhu pulled one point back instantly, the Japanese eventually ran away with the match at 16-21, 21-16, 21-19.