Rio Olympics Bronze medalist Nozomi Okuhara edged past PV Sindhu 21-19, 20-22, 22-20 in a classic three-game encounter to secure the gold medal at the Badminton World Championship. Sindhu dominated all the three games but the Japanese scripted a remarkable comeback to win the decider.
Okuhara comes out on the top in a thrilling game
Okuhara drew the first blood in the final as Sindhu hit the shuttle out of the baseline, however, the Indian hit right back winning the next point to level the game at 1-1. In the next game, Sindhu lobbed the shuttle high in the air but Okuhara could only hit the net before winning the next point to level the match at 2-2. Okuhara, though, didn’t give any chances to her Indian counterpart winning the next three point on offer to take the lead at 5-3. Despite trailing by two points, Sindhu proved her big match temperament and snatched the points easily as she entered the mid-game break with a six-point lead of 11-5. The Japanese remained successful in winning the first point after the break when she tried to hit the shuttle away. Okuhara added one more point with a booming smash towards the right of Sindhu to reduce the difference to four points at 7-11. She suddenly upped her tempo and Sindhu seemed to be struggling in the front of her as the score reached 13-10. After that, Okuhara started dominating the Indian and added seven consecutive points to take the score to 18-14 in her
Sindhu forces the game to the decider
Sindhu opened the scoring in the second game as Okuhara's smash lands wide of the right-hand side of the court and in the next point, Okuhara hit the shuttle way past the baseline to give Sindhu 2-0. Okuhara committed another two unforced errors which gave a four-point lead to Sindhu as the score reached 5-1. The duo kept exchanging points and Sindhu started celebrating every point in "Marin-style" as the score reached 9-5. The young Japenese showed her activeness on the court which helped her reduce the deficit to only one point as the score was 9-8. But Sindhu managed to gain two consecutive points and entered the mid-game break with an 11-8 lead. Both the player kept exchanging the points but Okuhara got the edge and made a stunning comeback to equal the score at 13-all. The Rio Olympic medalist managed to get next three successive points as Okuhara couldn’t clear the tape. Okuhara off a cross court smash puts the game in a very interesting position as the score was 17-16. The duo played out an exceptional 33-shot rally that helped Okuhara reach 20-20, but Sindhu played to the Japanese’s strength and kept the long rally going to push the game to the decider.
Okuhara secures the final game to win Gold
Sindhu started the game with a point but soon the Japanese quickly snatched the lead by securing four consecutive points. A down the line winner by the Indian reduced the deficit and Sindhu also started playing her natural game that helped her level up the game at 5-all. Fortunes kept on fluctuating as, despite Sindhu taking a 9-7 lead at one point in time in the game, the Japanese again levelled the game at 9-9, but two back-to-back points meant Sindhu managed entered the mid-game break at 11-9. Coming fresh after the break, Okuhara upped her service game and levelled the game at 11-all. The tiredness of the game was clearly visible but the players didn’t give up easily as the score reached 14-14. In the next point, the shuttle landed just wide of the left-hand side of the Japanese’s court that gifted Sindhu the lead. But in the next point, Okuhara came up with a stunning cross court drop shot and Sindhu could not reach in time that tied the decider at 16-16. Sindhu then hit a smash straight down the court and then in the next point, she somehow picked up a thunderous smash from Okuhara before hitting a deft cross court shot to take the lead at 19-17. The duo didn’t give an inch to the other and the match eventually ended in Okuhara’s favour. With the win, Okuhara also became the first Japanese to win a Gold medal at the World Championship.