A day after she fell mighty short of a win at the 2019 BWF World Tour Finals, India’s PV Sindhu had to endure a similar fate as she went down 22-20, 16-21, 21-12 against Chen Yu Fei of China in her second group match in Guangzhou, China on Thursday.
The loss also meant Sindhu’s stay at the competiton came to an unfortunate end after Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi registered a 25-27, 21-10, 21-13 over another Chinese He Bing Jiao, her second win at the 2019 BWF World Tour Finals.
Back from the death
Yu Fei came into the season-ending competiton on the back of a sensational year that saw her win as many as six events and enjoy a 60-9 win/loss record. And the young Chinese seemed in no mood to spoil that run as she started brightly gliding around the court, retrieving the shuttle at will and pushing Sindhu hard for her points.
While Yu Fei was on top of her game, Sindhu found it difficult to settle into a rhythm as though she created enough openings, the Indian just couldn’t kill the rallies when an opportunity presented itself.
Heading into the mid-game interval, Yu Fei enjoyed a fine 11-8 lead and seemed on course to pocket the opening game. But though she started brightly post the breather and raced to a 17-13 lead, Sindhu was not done yet.
Digging deep into her reserves, the Indian ace rallied in fine fashion to cut the deficit and stayed on her opponent’s toes till the very end. And with Yu Fei serving for the game with three game points in her kitty, the 24-year-old Sindhu brought her best to the fore to pocket five unanswered points to win the opening game 22-20.
Chen Yu Fei shines
Riding on the momentum, the Rio Olympics silver medallist started the second game on a strong note. She punished the Chinese with some smart racquet work, gathering a few quick points and looked poised to march ahead in the game.
But Yu Fei seemed to have other plans as she took a leaf out of Yamaguchi’s play from Wednesday, and dealt in body shots that had the Indian in all sorts of trouble during the remainder of the match.
The Chinese was soon back at her best, dealing in some smart cross-court smashes and juicy drop shots that caught her opponent off guard time and again as she went on to take the second game without much trouble.
With Sindhu’s forehand defence proving to be a trouble, Yu Fei ensured that she punished the Indian in every way to eke out points and race to a handsome lead in the deciding game before sealing the match by forcing an error out of her opponent.