Local Goa News

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rio 2016: Sensational Sindhu romps into history books

What grappler Sakshi Malik started late on Wednesday has now been taken to a higher level by another of India's proud girl child on the auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

Shuttler PV Sindhu thumped Japanese opponent Nozomi Okuhara 21-19 21-10 on Thursday to become the first Indian shuttler to enter an Olympic Games final. Sindhu is now assured of a silver medal at least.

The moment Sindhu entered the Riocentro Court No. 1 on Thursday, she knew that beating All England champion Okuhara would not be that easy, especially looking at her past head-to-head record of 1-3. The only consolation, though, was that she had managed to extend the Japanese to three games in all the three defeats against her.

The game plan was in place. It was only a question of executing it to perfection out in the middle.

World No. 8 Sindhu, who had earlier defeated the higher ranked Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying and world No. 2 Wang Yihan of China already, used her height and long reach to her advantage against the shorter and sixth-ranked Okuhara.

The cross court smashes that were on display right from the beginning were a treat to watch. The 21-year-old raced to a 4-1 lead by not allowing the Japanese to settle down. There were long rallies in between but Sindhu maintained the lead, 11-6, at the first mini break. It was that two-minute interval that helped Okuhara to re-strategise her game plan. She successfully increased the pace of the game in her attempt to unsettle the Indian.

And, she was able to get to 10-12 before Sindhu also started outsmarting her with her pace. Even when down 14-17, Okuhara kept coming back at Sindhu, forcing the Indian to make some unforced errors in her bid to kill the shuttle from the back line. The good thing was that the Indian never conceded the lead at this stage and concluded the first game with a powerful smash to win it at 19.

Sindhu was a completely different player in the second. A game lead had done a world of good to her confidence and Okuhara was looking short of breath when Sindhu was leading 8-4. The Indian made some unforced errors in her bid to gain a decisive lead that helped the Japanese to reach 10-11 at interval.

This was it. Sindhu knew that her opponent had run out of steam. Okuhara's strapped legs were not moving swiftly and that turned Sindhu to more aggressive play.

The Japanese looked short of ideas as Sindhu kept hitting anything and everything. Okuhara melted under pressure to concede 10 points on a trot. A scoreline of 21-10 started the celebration amongst the large Indian gathering here.

With this win, double World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu improved her head-to-head record against reigning All England Open champion Okuhara to 2-3.

But looking at how she has been playing so far in this tournament, not losing a single game ever since reaching Rio, her gold medal match against two-time reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain should be a cracker.

Marin defeated world No. 3 and defending world champion Li Xuerui of China 21-14, 21-16 in the earlier semifinal. "Definitely, I would want to make that wish (of Abhinav Bindra) come true. I'm going to play my heart out," Sindhu reacted to the champion shooter's tweet.

Come Friday, and Sindhu will be out there to rewrite history once again!

DNA India News

No comments:

Post a Comment