Dubai Superseries Finals | Sindhu goes down fighting in semifinal

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Dubai Superseries Finals | Sindhu goes down fighting in semifinal

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SportsCafe Desk

12/17/2016

PV Sindhu was unable to carry her form from the Marin encounter yesterday and lost in the semifinal to Sung Ji Hyun in a three-setter 15-21, 21-18, 15-21. Sindhu fought back valiantly to win the second, but Sung took an early lead in the third and retained it to enter the final of the tournament.

PV Sindhu had a 6-3 head-to-head record going into the match against World No. 5 Sung Ji Hyun with her last win coming just last month en route to her maiden Superseries title at the China Open. More importantly, Sindhu came into the semifinal after having won a major psychological battle on Friday with a win against Olympic champion Carolina Marin.

Sung, however, also has been in terrific form having topped the other group with a straight-sets win over World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying.

(all points shown as Sindhu-Sung)

First Game

In the very first point, Sung showed her prowess pulling Sindhu apart with her placements to win it. Erratic play from both players saw the game move towards 3-4 before Sindhu drew par with a backcourt drop - something that she has failed to bring into effect so far in the event.

Sindhu’s errors, however, came back to trouble her with Sung taking a 5-7 lead and extending it with some nifty play at the net. Sindhu made amends for that with some sustained attacking play that saw her close the gap to 9-10, but a long return saw Sung go into the break with the lead at 9-11.

At 11-13, Sindhu made a great lunging return to keep the shuttle in play, but made a wrong call near the net to gift away the point. Although Sindhu managed to make some great saves, Sung raced to a 14-19 lead, breaking down the Indian’s defence time and again. The Korean eventually closed the opening game at 15-21 with a net-smash.

Second Game

The second game began with a great rally that stretched into 30 shots with both players missing chances to finish, but it was Sindhu who eventually gave up dumping her return into the net. Sindhu caught up with the Korean at 2-2, and once again at 4-4 by taking her time to place a superb smash-drop leaving Sung stranded in the middle.

Sindhu took the lead going up 7-6 with another well-placed smash to her opponent’s left. Sindhu’s shifted her game to the backcourt after apparently receiving instructions from coach Gopichand and stifled the Korean’s netplay with her lobs. But Sung turned the game around by erasing Sindhu’s three-point advantage to draw par at 9-9.

Errors at both ends saw the game slowly inch ahead with both players in lockstep until 16-16. And then on 18-18, Sindhu won the point with a hairpin drop, and won the next crucial point by coming out on top of a 30+shot rally. With the game finally in sight, Sindhu pounced on  a bad return from Sung to unleash a forecourt smash and followed it up with a shriek and a fistpump.

Third Game

Sung took an early 1-4 lead in the decider and extended it to 3-8 thanks to Sindhu’s stream of errors. After committing initial faults, Sindhu did everything right by sending well-placed smashes only to see Sung somehow send back all of them to go up 5-9.

Sung went into the break with a 6-11 lead despite Sindhu putting up a brave defence. Sung began sending shorter lobs and soon found herself with a 9-16 lead. Although Sindhu narrowed it to 12-16, Sung was back with her drops and it was soon match point which the Korean closed out in her very first attempt to win 15-21 and enter the final of the year-ender event.

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