In her second group-stage match at the Dubai Superseries year-ender, PV Sindhu appeared jaded in her straight games loss to World No. 6 Sun Yu of China in a replay of last month's China Open final. The Indian led the proceedings in the second game but lost steam to eventually lose 15-21, 17-21.
Sindhu had defeated the World No. 6 from China last month in the final of the China Open to win her maiden Superseries final. The win had also ensured that Sindhu had made the head-to-head 3-3 between the two.
The match today began with Sun catching a lucky break on the very first point – Yu's return caught the top of the net and changed direction leaving Sindhu stranded. With Sindhu making a wrong call to leave a borderline return, Sun went into a 0-3 lead.
Sindhu caught up with the score at 3-4, but Yu kept going for the marginal returns and was getting them in more often than not and took a 7-3 lead.
At 8-4, Sindhu brought her complete defensive skills to the fore tormenting Sun with her returns before
Despite Sindhu's slick movement, Sun capitalized on the Indian's poor anticipation and returns to take a three-point lead to go 11-8 up at the break.
It was entirely Sindhu's game to lose as the Indian committed errors in her return over and over again to let Sun run away to a 17-9 lead.
Misjudged line call after line call and Sun reached game point at 20-9. Although Sindhu managed to make a late statement by saving six-game points, a failed drop eventually gave Sun the inevitable first game.
In the second set, continuing the momentum from her late surge, Sindhu raced to a 2-5 lead on the back of some aggressive play. Sun, however, continued her tryst with the dice winning the marginal shots mixing wily drops with on-the-line back-court lobs.
Sun managed to draw par at 5-5, but Sindhu won a crucial battle with a backhand flick at the net to take the advantage back and eliciting a sharp shriek from the Hyderabadi.
As coach Gopichand, who had made a rare visit to accompany his disciple, watched on, Sindhu appeared a different player from the first set. The meek returns were gone and sharp smashes and deeply placed lobs saw that Sindhu went into the break with an 8-11 lead. Winning her first line-call challenge of the match did as well help Sindhu.
A disguised drop from the backcourt by Sindhu at 9-11 even elicited a pump of the fist from the normally stoic Gopi. Sun, however, kept up the pressure as Sindhu's physical play in the second set appeared to have drained her a bit. The Chinese sent the Indian scurrying around the court to close the gap to 13-14.
A series of errors from Sindhu saw Sun suddenly go ahead 17-15 and the Chinese reached match point at 20-17 as Sindhu's errors continued. The World No.6 finished proceedings with an emphatic forecourt smash to exact revenge for her loss at the China Open last month.