PV Sindhu's incredible fight in the Hong Kong Open final ended in an agonizing loss as the World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying beat her 21-18, 21-18 to win the $400,000 Hong Kong Super Series on Sunday. This was the Indian’s second loss in the four Superseries finals that she has reached this season.
Playing her fifth straight tournament, Sindhu, who had a dismal 3-7 head-to-head record against the Taiwan player before the match, didn’t take her foot off the pedal and fought throughout the 44-minute match.
In the opening game, Tai raced to a 3-0 lead early on before Sindhu made a good judgment at the baseline to level things up, but the former unleashed her wide repertoire of strokes afterward and varied the pace well to take a lead at 7-2. Sindhu then started to dominate the rallies through her wonderful court coverage and forced the Taiwanese to play her game close to the net and in the process reduced the deficit to 6-7. However, the World No.1 took a step forward and produced a smash on the deep backhand corner of Sindhu and moved to 10-7 and went into the mid-game interval with a three-point advantage.
Although Sindhu was attacking in her style of play and didn’t allow her opponent to dominate the game completely, Tai’s plans of keeping at least a three-point lead intact restricted Sindhu to take a lead in the game. Although the Hyderabadi reduced the margin to 10-13, Tai quickly recovered from that to extend her domination to 18-14. However, Sindhu, using her backhand shots and court coverage to good effect, clawed back into the game at 18-18. But Tai unleashed two back-to-back smashes and after winning a video referral when her shuttle landed on the line, she sealed the first game 21-18.
The second game was particularly more interesting as the duo went neck-to-neck until the scorecard read 7-7. Tai seemed to be a bit tired at the moment as Sindhu moved on to 10-7 before entering the break with a two-point advantage when Tai found the net.
However, Tai dominated the proceedings after the interval, despite Sindhu trying hard to force the game to the decider. At 13-12, Sindhu was not allowed a video referral by the line judge and after that, the match was slowly slipping away from the Indian when Tai produced a stroke on Sindhu's forehand to perfection. With the Indian failing to finish the rallies, it allowed the World No.1 to secure a lead at 17-12. Although the Indian produced a cross-court smash to break the rhythm, she again hit long as Tai earned the match point at 20-16. Although Sindhu saved two match points, a perfect drop shot from Tai sealed the title for the Taiwan shuttler.
This is Sindhu's second loss in the four finals that she reached this season. She had lost to Japan's Nozomi Okuhara at the World Championship final, while clinching two titles at the India Open and Korea Open this year.