Indian Ace Badminton Players Sania Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and Sai Praneeth are in Bangkok for the Badminton World Fedration – Thailand Open 2017.
Sania will be playing her match today 31st May 2017 at the National Stadium at 7:30 pm. Please come in large numbers to cheer our Indian players and show your support.
The tournament will showcase a number of Indian shuttlers, including Sourabh Verma, Joshi brothers – Pratul and Aditya – Mumbai’s Harsheel Dani, Shreyansh Jaiswal and Rahul Yadav Chittaboina in men’s singles.
In women’s singles, national champion Rituparna Das, Ruthvika Shivani Gadde, Reshma Karthik, Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka, Saili Rane and Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli will also participate in the tournament.
Among other Indians in doubles, eighth seeded women’s pair of Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram, the men’s combo of Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok and Francis Alwin and Kona Tarun will also be in action.
If there was any doubt who the undisputed Indian queen of badminton is, PV Sindhu put that to rest by beating Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the women’s singles final to win her maiden India Open Super Series title on Sunday.
Sindhu, who won the TOISA badminton player of the year as well as overall player of the year awards, avenged her Olympic final defeat to Marin in an imperious fashion with a straight game 21-19, 21-16 win at a packed Siri Fort Sports Complex. In a pulsating contest, which was a repeat of the Rio Olympic final where the Spaniard prevailed in three games, Sindhu put up an all-round show in front of the home fans.
Sindhu had established her dominance early in the contest with a drop shot and a smash giving her a 6-1 lead before Marin began gaining on her.
The Rio Olympic gold medallist began attacking Sindhu and successfully cut down the lead to manageable level. A return that went long brought her on the doorstep of levelling it but then Sindhu engaged her in a rally to again race ahead at 9-7.
After the first break, Sindhu was forced to defend and ended up committing errors which eventually allowed her opponent to draw level at 16-all. But Sindhu was unrelenting, a well-directed smash that left Marin smiling again gave her a slim lead.
A powerful return allowed the two-time world champion to take the lead and then she was guilty of two mistakes that gave Sindhu the game 21-19.
Sindhu became even more aggressive after the change of ends as she sprinted to a lead of 4-0 in no time. This game would see Sindhu proving too hot to handle for her 23-year-old long-time rival after the early close exchanges. The Indian replied to her every move – if engaged in netplay, she would pounce if there was even a whiff of an opportunity.
If there were long rallies, she would produce pinpointed smash. With each point, Sindhu’s confidence grew and Marin’s column of mistakes began swelling. Weak returns, unforced errors followed.
Egged by the home crowd, Sindhu continued landing the killer blows. Soon, she was leading 20-15 and was just a point away from winning her second ever Super Series title. Marin opted for change of shuttle, it didn’t work. She committed one last error, as a lift crashed on the net, giving Sindhu the match point and the title.
Sunday was the 10th time the two clashed at an international event and the two are tied at 5-5 on head-to-head clashes.
Earlier, in a repeat of the India Open 2015 final, in an all-Indonesian final, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo beat Ricky Karanda Suwardi/ Angga Pratama 21-11, 21-15 to win men’s doubles title.
India beat Australia by 8 wickets in final Test in Dharamsala to win series 2-1, reclaim Border-Gavaskar Trophy
India 106 for 2 (Rahul 51*) and 332 (Jadeja 63, Rahul 60, Pujara 57, Lyon 5-92) beat Australia 300 (Smith 111, Wade 57, Warner 56, Kuldeep 4-68) and 137 (Maxwell 45, Jadeja 3-24, Ashwin 3-29, Umesh 3-29) by eight wickets Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Ajinkya Rahane sent a 146kph bouncer from Pat Cummins flying into the crowd at midwicket and, next ball, slapped another short one over the cover fence while backing away. These were the blows that finally snuffed out the last of Australia’s fight, and sealed once and for all India’s victory in this most bewitching of Border-Gavaskar series.
Australia entered the fourth morning with only the scantest of hopes, defending a mere 87 runs and needing 10 wickets. This did not mean that contest was over, as Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins fired the ball down with pace and venom after a night’s refreshment. The loss of M Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara – the latter run out by a brilliant throw from Glenn Maxwell – kept Australia hoping. But KL Rahul and Rahane responded with bold blows to settle the matter.
The win in Dharamsala ended India’s marathon home Test season with four series victories out of four, and also means that the team presently holds series honours over every other nation in the five-day game. Rahane’s stand-in captaincy, in the absence of the injured Virat Kohli, had been vital to this achievement, so too the runs of Rahul, the pace of Umesh Yadav and the all-round contribution of Ravindra Jadeja. There will be great satisfaction derived also from the fact that Dharamsala offered conditions more familiar to the tourists.
For that reason, among others, Steven Smith’s team were left to ponder a string of missed opportunities after their vast opening win in Pune. There have been times in all three Tests since that the Australians have looked very much in control of proceedings, but they have been unable to stay on the mountaintop under pressure from an Indian side roused into action by the shock of that first-up hiding.
As the ball continued to bounce and swerve when India resumed their pursuit of a modest target today, Australia’s fielders must have wondered what might have been with another 100 or so runs to defend. Josh Hazlewood went up for a pair of vociferous lbw appeals against Vijay in the opening over, but on both occasions the opener got the merest of bat to ball before it struck the pad.
At the other end Cummins sent a bouncer down the leg side that may have touched Vijay’s gloves before being taken on the juggle by Matthew Wade. Certainly Ultra Edge indicated as much, but only Wade raised the most half-hearted of appeals. More straightforward was another edge in Cummins’ next over, near enough to an action replay of Vijay’s first-innings dismissal, which offered a glimmer of light for Australia.
Genuine excitement followed when Pujara and Rahul hesitated fatally in taking a quick single to the right arm of Maxwell, who threw down middle stump to send Pujara on his way with 60 still needed. In those moments the Australians wondered briefly what might be possible, and the Indian viewing area tensed up like with so many teams chasing a pesky small target in the past.
But Rahane and Rahul barely put a foot out of place in the overs that followed, accumulating steadily until Cummins elected to go around the wicket for the tourists’ final effort. Rahane’s riposte, the first impressively orthodox, the second more redolent of the forthcoming IPL, said much about India’s admirable resilience in the face of a most unexpected challenge.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
The 2017 King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament kicked off today on the banks of Bangkok’s mighty Chaophraya River. The opening day offered a spectacle of seasoned elephant polo players, a traditional Thai parade, Thailand’s last elephant spirit men and the stars of the event – 25 rescued street elephants. The proceedings began with a traditional ceremony blessed by monks who placed sacred garlands over the necks of the elephants. Thailand’s last elephant spirit men (Kru Ba Yai), who possess spiritual control over all of Thailand’s elephants, also presided over the early morning rituals.
The opening match saw 2016 champions, King Power, represented by Nattapong Pratumlee, Satid Wongkraso and Tom Claytor continue their winning style, easily beating newcomers BENIHANA by double scores.
The match of the day was between teams PWC All Blacks which includes international rugby players, Olo Brown, Stu Wilson and Charlie Richelman and Casiliero Del Diablo represented by Argentina’s finest polo players, Agustin Kronhaus, Manuel Albizu and Franck Constant with the first half closing in a nail biting tie.
The tested All Blacks came into the second half all set to fight for a win against the newest editions to the Elephant Polo Cup line up, but the team from Buenos Aires easily progressed into the next round with a 6-4 win.
The annual event is an opportunity for Anantara Hotels and Resorts to take 25 unemployed, rescued street elephants, provide them with full veterinary checks by royally appointed veterinarians and supply them with essential vitamin and dietary supplements. To date the tournament has raised over US$1.3 million which has been donated to various projects throughout Thailand.
Tea Australia 276 and 101 for 6 (Handscomb 19*, Ashwin 3-35) need another 87 runs to beat India 189 and 274 (Pujara 92, Rahane 52, Rahul 51, Hazlewood 6-67)
What a great Test. This comeback from India sets up the series nicely. The final day lived up to its expectations. The whole Test was great. We have people at the ground to report and analyse what happened and what the fallout of this is. Thanks for joining us here, and do come back to read and watch the fallout. Goodbye
“Great Test match,” says Steven Smith. “Certainly ebbed and floed throughout. I am proud of the way the boys played it. The partnership between Rahane and Pujara hurt us. They played really well. And we weren’t up for it today. It was quite hard to play. Bit up and down with the quicks throughout the match, and that rough outside off. Quite difficult but Test match cricket is not supposed to be easy. A wicket like that, always umpires have to make a lot of calls. Everyone makes mistakes. Not that I am saying they made any. Series is well and truly alive. Great two Tests. Plenty to play for when we go to Ranchi.”
“After losing the first Test the way we did,” says Virat Kohli. “We wanted to bounce back and not show anyone but ourselves what we are made of. They showed the intent and the belief that we can win from any position. It was about taking responsibility. The way they showed heart and character, along with the crowd, is unbelievable. The moment they did not score big in the second innings, we knew we had a chance. We knew if we got anything over 150, we had a chance. After conceding the lead, Pujara and Rahane had a champion partnership. Two best Test batsmen we have got, so much character and technique and heart. Wriddhi’s knock in the end, Ishant’s application, that was a bonus. We would have liked anything over 200, we thought from 225 there was only one winner. The moment we got 187, we knew we needed in-out fields, we needed to finish it today. Can’t wait for Ranchi. We need to push that momentum further. The team is not going to look back now.”
“There is no better place for to perform like I did,” says KL Rahul, the Man of the Match. “After that first loss, to come here and do what we did is really really special. we have achieved a lot but this win for a young team will be really really special. I have played all my cricket here. I told them if we get 150 lead we will win by 30. We knew the third day was the best day to bat on, and the approach from us was brilliant. There was a time they said when I get past 20 I get a hundred. That was a problem. Now if we get just fifty, that is a problem. On a serious note, I was disappointed. Openers need to get big runs. This was a disappointment but now that we have won, that disappointment is gone. My shouldr gets quite sore, I can’t dive, and I have to restrict a couple of shots. It is not such a bad thing. I can bat within myself. I am enjoying batting with the problem”
Happy Indian team, and happy quotes from them all. We have heard from Ashwin, Yadav, Pujara and Rahane. We are yet to hear from Smith, Kohli and most probably KL Rahul, who should be the Man of the Match
“It was not coming out of the hand all right,” says R Ashwin. “I was trying to turn it too hard. One good thing I did was when wickets were not coming, I kept the runs down. We just spoke inside the dressing room to bowl some short spells and keep changing over. That is why we were rotating so we could attack through such short balls.”
“We were just trying to hit the deck hard,” says Umesh Yadav. “We knew from where the ball was keeping up and down. Every time we were trying to hit the wickets. Always a pleasure playing with Ishant. He gives me ideas on how to bowl.”
“We were not thinking too far ahead,” says Ajinkya Rahane. “We knew 200 would be tough to get on this pitch. We wanted to unsettle the spinners. We wanted to dominate, not through boundaries, but through singles.”
“It is a great feeling to beat Australia,” says Cheteshwar Pujara. “The way we were so far behind, it is a great satisfaction. We just wanted a partnership. The balls were staying low. The way Nathan Lyon bowled in the first innings, we needed a Plan B, and we had it. Anything over 200 was almost impossible here. Once we crossed 150, we were confident. When I went in to bat, I never thought about the runs. I just had a positive intent. Now probably we will have the psychological advantage the way we have played.”
Ashwin and Kohli, as usual, share the spotlight, but the team makes it a point to thank Jadeja. They must also thank Rahul, Pujara and Rahane. Rahul for keeping them alive with his twin fifties, and Pujara and Rahane for that wicketless session yesterday to put India ahead. This is India’s ninth win this season, but might taste the sweetest after the crisis they found themselves in
Meanwhile, in another country, another sport, but the one and only Nagraj Gollapudi. He makes his debut as a badminton correspondent on our sister site ESPN.in and he’s covering the All England Open, which starts later today. Saina, Sindhu, Lin Dan, the Great Danes, all in action over the next few days.
At tea on the fourth day in Bengaluru, only one thing was certain: this Test would not be a draw. But a trophy-securing win for Australia? A series-levelling victory for India? A tie? Any of those outcomes seemed plausible. A session full of tension finished with Australia needing 87 runs to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and their brisk run-rate gave them a chance. But India required only four wickets, and on this pitch, such strikes could come quickly.
Set 188 to win on a dry, cracking surface offering variable bounce, the Australians went to tea on 101 for 6, having just lost Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade shortly before the break. Those strikes made India the favourites, though Australia would not have been unhappy at the tea break halting India’s momentum. The key man for Australia was Peter Handscomb, the last remaining member of the top six, who had used his feet well and went to tea on 19.
It was a session in which every ball felt like a possible wicket, and in which every run was cheered by the Australians. It was also a session in which Australia’s use of the DRS cost them. David Warner was given out early in the session, lbw trying to sweep R Ashwin on 17, and his review was struck down when umpire’s call was shown for impact and off stump. The loss of that review almost certainly prevented Shaun Marsh using one five overs later.
Marsh had shouldered arms to Umesh Yadav, who was coming around the wicket, and was given out by umpire Nigel Llong when struck on the pad. Unsure whether he should ask for a review, Marsh consulted his partner, Steven Smith, and the end result was that Marsh walked off. A review would have saved him: it was a poor decision from Llong, the ball clearly going to miss off stump by some distance.
The review system was again in the spotlight soon afterwards when Smith was struck by a grubber from Umesh, and seemed to signal to the Australian dressing room for advice on whether to have the call reviewed. Llong stepped in to prevent the communication, Virat Kohli also objected, and Smith walked off for 28. A review would have been futile: he couldn’t have been plumber if he’d been wearing a Super Mario costume.
Mitchell Marsh struck three quick boundaries before he was caught in close off Ashwin for 13, and Wade could not survive until tea, out for a fifth-ball duck when his inside edge lobbed off his pad and up for Wriddhiman Saha to take a diving catch. It left Australia six down, after the session had began with Matt Renshaw edging behind an excellent seamer from Ishant Sharma.
Lunch had marked the innings break after Josh Hazlewood led an excellent bowling display from the visitors and picked up 6 for 67. Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc were both devastating during a new-ball spell that earned Australia five wickets in 19 deliveries, before a last-wicket partnership between Wriddhiman Saha and Ishant Sharma nudged India’s lead to 187.
Hazlewood’s figures were the best by an Australia fast bowler in a Test innings in India for 37 years, since Geoff Dymock claimed 7 for 67 at Kanpur in October 1979. India started the morning at 213 for 4 and hoped to extend their lead past 200, but the work of Australia’s fast bowlers made that a difficult ask, and India were bowled out for 274, having added 61 to their overnight total for the loss of their last six wickets.
Starc started the carnage by swinging the new ball in to Ajinkya Rahane, who on 52 was rapped on the pad and given not out by umpire Llong. However, Smith opted for a review and it was a good one for Australia as the decision was overturned. Next ball, Karun Nair failed to handle Starc’s pace and swing and tickled an inside edge onto his stumps, and such was the ferocity of the delivery that the leg stump shattered on impact.
Starc’s hat-trick delivery was negotiated by Saha, if not concvincingly then at least effectively, but in the next over Hazlewood picked up an even more important wicket. Cheteshwar Pujara looked set for a century, having resumed on 79, but on 92 he failed to handle a shortish Hazlewood ball that was fended to gully, where Mitchell Marsh took the catch. Three balls later, R Ashwin was bowled by one that stayed low, and Hazlewood had two in the over.
In Hazlewood’s next over he accounted for Umesh, who swung hard and was caught at mid-off, and it looked as tough Australia might run through the tail quickly. But Ishant and Saha hung in for a 16-run tenth-wicket stand that could yet prove crucial, and which ended when Ishant drove a catch to cover off the spin of Steve O’Keefe.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale
Kohli has joined the likes of Usian Bolt, Theirry Henry, Asafa Powell amongst others as a global ambassador for Puma.
The Indian captain who made history on the field by scoring a double hundred in four back-to-back Test series, has repeated the same off-field. Virat Kohli became the first Indian sportsman to ink a Rs 110 crore endorsement deal with the sports apparel brand Puma, reported the Times of India.
With the signing of an eight-year deal, Kohli has joined the ranks of Usian Bolt, Theirry Henry, Oliver Giroud, Asafa Powell amongst others as a global ambassador for the brand.
“It’s a privilege to be part of a great list of athletes that Puma has,” Kohli told TOI. “Not just today’s icons like Usain Bolt, but also the brand’s rich history with Pele, Maradona, Thierry Henry and others. Both Puma and I are committed to a long-term partnership. I am impressed by the way Puma has gained popularity and market leadership in India in a short period of time,” he added.
Kohli’s endorsement deal with the German company involves a fixed payment and royalty depending on the brand’s business performance. Bulk of the endorsement deal, estimated between Rs 12 and Rs 14 crore annually, has been signed on a fixed payout.
While other legends like MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar have been a part of the Rs 100 crore club, they have received this amount through multi-year contracts with various brands. However, the 28-year old captain has been the first to put his hand on such a big amount through a single brand.
Kohli took to various social media platforms and posted a picture endorsing the brand.
MELBORUNE: When it was all done Rafael Nadal threw himself on the surface on which he had chased and charged, reached and raged for four minutes short of five hours in the semifinals of the Australian Open. He fell face down, arms stretched out. In prayer and gratitude.
The ninth-seed flirted with fringes after winning his ninth title in Roland Garros in 2014, failing to get past the last eight of a Major in the 30 months that followed. On Friday night with the full-house at the Rod Laver Arena behind him Nadal stormed into the final. The 30-year-old came through with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 win over Bulgaria’s 15th-seed Grigor Dimitrov, who lived up to his name of `Baby Fed’, showing shades of the legendary Roger Federer, especially with the flair he exhibited with his backhand.
In Sunday’s final, Nadal will play Federer on a Grand Slam stage three years after they met in the semifinals here in 2014.It’ll be the duo’s 35th meeting.
“Difficult to describe emotions,” Nadal, who broke down in tears when he congratulated Dimitrov after the match, said.”I was tired, Grigor played unbelievable, it was a great match. When you have tough moments like I had last year, it takes a while to get back to that level that you had. I’m a positive person, but I never ever dreamed to be in the final here in Australia in just my second tournament. I feel very lucky .”
Dimitrov may have had chances early in the opening set, but it was the 2009 champion, who dazzled in the early part of the match, while his opponent appeared out of step. The 25-year-old Bulgarian, who won the duo’s last meeting in October, looked up at his box, flashing a worried look at his coach Dani Vallverdu. Nadal, who received a time violation warning in the fourth game of the second set, when down love-30, lost his serve two points later as he popped a forehand. Unhappy with the rap, he tried to force the pace in the next game, but Dimitrov stood up to the pressure to take a 4-1 lead. Nadal, not serving at his best in the second set, kept up the pressure from the back of the court to pull one back in the ninth game. With the crowd behind the Spaniard, who warded off four set points to hold serve, levelled scores at five-all. He then came up short in the 12th game, allowing Dimitrov to level set scores.
A couple of messy forehands gave Nadal break in the fifth game of the third set. The Spaniard, struggling with timing, surrendered his serve in the following game. Play was delayed by six minutes, following the 11th game, with Nadal serving to stay in the set when a spectator collapsed in the stands.When play resumed Nadal held to love. The tie-break then was a battle of inches and intensity , at five-all Dimitrov was the first to blink and Nadal took the lead.
In the fourth set, Nadal’s grit and grunt was matched by some smart gambling from Dimitrov, who went for the lines, pushing the muscleman from Mallorca on the backfoot and taking the set to tie-break.
In the decider, the 25-yearold stepped it up a notch, his play matching his attitude. Just when it looked like Dimitrov was running away with it, Nadal came up with the fight to match his opponent’s flair, coming back from 15-40 to hold serve in the eighth game. The Spaniard then gained the same position in the following game, Dimitrov’s forehand error giving him a breakpoint at 3040. This time Nadal attacked, sealing the break after crowding the net. With his bench on their feet, the ninth seed, his serve and nerve stretched and tested, finally closed out on his third match point.
India women 121 for 5 (Raj 73*, Amin 2-24) beat Pakistan women 104 for 6 (Maroof 25, Bisht 2-22) by 17 runs
India’s dominance in the women’s Asia Cup extended as they sealed their sixth title in as many editions with a 17-run win over Pakistan in Bangkok. It was the second consecutive time India had beaten Pakistan in an Asia Cup final, having done so in 2012-13 as well. The win also ensured India remained unbeaten in this year’s tournament, which was being played in the T20 format for the second time.
It was Mithali Raj who set up the win, scoring an unbeaten 73 after India opted to bat and taking them to 121 for 5. The bowlers then sent down economical spells to choke Pakistan in the chase, restricting them to 104 for 6.
Raj dominated almost every partnership she featured in. She started off by putting on 24 for the first wicket with Smriti Mandhana, who contributed just 6. After her dismissal, it was the turn of Sabbhineni Meghana to play second fiddle as she made 9 in a second-wicket stand of 44. Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet Kaur, the India captain, were also sent back for single-digit scores, before Jhulan Goswami’s late cameo lifted India. Goswami pinged two sixes on her way to a 10-ball 17 before perishing off the penultimate ball of the innings. Raj had struck seven fours and a six in her 65-ball knock.
Left-arm spinner Anam Amin topped the wickets column with 2 for 24 in four overs, while Sana Mir and Sadia Yousuf were economical in their respective quotas and took a wicket apiece.
Pakistan scored at nearly a run a ball during the first half of the chase, but lost three wickets. Goswami had Ayesha Zafar bowled in the fifth over before Asmavia Iqbal fell in similar fashion in the next over, sent down by Shikha Pandey. Javeria Khan added 28 with captain Bismah Maroof, but could not make her start count as she was snuffed out by Ekta Bisht, the left-arm spinner, and Pakistan became 56 for 3. That third-wicket stand was the highest Pakistan could manage as regular wickets stalled them. Nida Dar and Mir made identical scores of 12 not out in late resistance, but both were kept quiet – neither scored a single boundary – as Pakistan fell short.
India convincingly beat hosts Thailand by nine wickets, registering their second win in a row in Match 3 of the Women’s Asia Cup T20 at the Asian Institute of Technology Ground, in Bangkok, on Sunday. Skipper and opener Harmanpreet Kaur was the top scorer with 35 runs, while fellow opener Sabbhineni Meghana remained unbeaten on 29.Wicketkeeper-batswoman Sushma Verma remained unbeaten on three, while Thailand’s skipper Sornnarin Tippoch claimed the only wicket that fell in the Indian innings. Harmanpreet was the only batter to be dismissed, with Tippoch returning with the figures of 1 for 17. India are now just a couple of wins away from sealing the final spot from the remaining three games. FULL Cricket Updates, IND vs THA, ACC Women’s Asia Cup T20, Match 3 at Bangkok.
Earlier, minnows Thailand set a small target of just 70 for big guns India in the Match 3. Thailand’s Ratanaporn Padunglerd was the top scorer with 20 runs, while Mansi Joshi claimed a couple of wickets for just eight runs. Previously, Thailand skipper Sornnarin Tippoch won the coin toss and elected to bat first, while the Indian bowlers gave a perfect start to their game, as they claimed the opening couple of wickets in quick succession, carrying the confidence after they beat Bangladesh in the opening game on Saturday.
Thailand finished on a mere total of 69 for the loss of 5 wickets, thus setting India a mere target of just 70 runs to wrap the game up. Brief scores: Thailand Women 69 for 5 in 20 overs (Ratanaporn Padunglerd 20; Mansi Joshi 2 for 8) vs India Women 70 for 1 in 11.1 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 35, Sabbhineni Meghana 29*; Sornnarin Tippoch 1 for 17) by 9 wickets. Full Updates (Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)
FUZHOU: Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu clinched her maiden Super Series Premier title after edging out Sun Yu of China in the final of the $700,000 China Open badminton tournament on Sunday.
Sindhu, who became the toast of the country after becoming the first Indian women to win a silver at Rio Games, continued her rampaging run as she lifted the prestigious title after beating Sun 21-11, 17-21, 21-11 in the summit clash that lasted an hour and nine minutes.
World No. 11 Sindhu had come into the match with a 2-3 head-to-head record but then statistics counted little when she took the court at the Haixia Olympic Sports Center.
Sindhu dished out a dominating game as she zoomed to a healthy 11-5 lead early on. The Indian looked sharp and athletic as she engaged in a fast-paced game to bamboozle her opponent.
Eventually it was a cross court return which earned Sindhu a massive 12 game points at 20-8. A couple of smashes on Sindhu’s forehand and backhand and a drop going to the net helped Sun save three points. But Sindhu sealed the opening encounter after dominating a parallel game and finishing it with a return that hit Sun’s face.
In the second game, Sindhu had a slender 6-3 lead which she extended to 11-7 and 14-10. But Sun soon broke the rhythm by mixing her strokes and coming up with steep and powerful body smashes to catch up with the Indian at 14-14.
A sharp smash and a superb return on Sindhu’s backhand helped Sun grab a 18-16 lead which became 19-16 after the Indian lost a video referral. At 20-16, Sun hit the nets but she roared back into contest when Sindhu’s stretched low return at the forecourt could not cross the net.
Back to her winning side of the court, Sindhu once again started with new exuberance as the duo locked themselves in a battle of supremacy. As a result service changed hands too quickly as they moved together till 6-6.
But Sindhu moved ahead with a couple of powerpacked returns which Sun failed to negotiate. The Chinese also faltered with a lift and also hit wide as Sindhu reached 10-6. A few errors helped Sun make it 8-10 before Sindhu entered the interval with a 11-8 advantage.
Sindhu continued to extend her lead even as Sun tried to vary the pace of the rallies but her errors continued to pile up as the Indian was soon 19-11 up. Sindhu then grabbed the match point when Sun let go of the shuttle as it kissed the back line and then the Indian pushed the shuttle at the back, leaving the Chinese stranded before letting out a joyous scream.
Saina Nehwal had clinched the China Open in 2014 before finishing runners-up last year.
Sindhu had reached her maiden Super Series final at the Denmark Open last year but the title eluded her then as she lost in straight games to 2012 Olympic champion China’s Li Xuerei.