Sindhu loses to Okuhara in Thailand Open final

IANS
Sunday, 15 July 2018

The second seeded Sindhu lost 15-21, 18-21 in 50 minutes as the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist took a 6-5 lead in head-to-head record

Bangkok: India's star shuttler P.V. Sindhu lost to reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in straight games in the women's singles final of the Thailand Open here on Sunday.

The second seeded Sindhu lost 15-21, 18-21 in 50 minutes as the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist took a 6-5 lead in head-to-head record.

While fourth seeded Okuhara got a prize money of $26,250, Sindhu, a three-time World Championship medallist, bagged $13,300.

The Japanese was quick off the blocks, taking a 6-2 lead. But Sindhu did well to gain three consecutive points, trailing 5-6.

Okuhara then won a 23-rally battle to take a 7-5 lead before she went on to extend her lead to four points with the scoreline at 12-8, thanks to couple of unforced errors on the part of the Indian.

Sindhu sensed the urgency in reducing the deficit as she didn't allow Okuhara to run away with the game. However, the Japanese cotinued to maintain at least a two-point game until she reached 17 points.

Thereafter, Okuhara produced four consecutive points in a hurry to pocket the first game 21-15. A body smash rattled Sindhu, who then hit a shot wide before hitting one onto the net to trail 0-1 in the match.

In the second game, Sindhu started brigh, racing to an early 6-2 lead. But Sindhu was left stranded at the six-point mark as Okuhara fought valiantly to garner five points on the trot to take a 7-6 lead.

The Indian then brought her high-jump smashes to the fore to reel in three successive points to lead 9-7 but the Japanese equalised at the nine-point mark. Sindhu managed to go into the midgame break with a two point lead.

Afterwards, Okuhara brought out some delectable cross-court net-game to trouble Sindhu and lead 14-12. Even though Sindhu quickly pulled level, Okuhara raced to a 17-14 lead.

Sindhu came out with a strong defence which earned her two quick points. Okuhara smashed at the left and Sindhu dived to put it slowly past the other net but the Japanese couldn't reach there. Then Okuhara shot wide to manage to hold a slim 17-16 lead.

Then, Sindhu's smash went long as she trailed 16-18. Under pressure, both matched shots for shots as a half-smash on the right from Sindhu made Okuhara lead by a point before the Japanese could only defend a smash into the net, with the scores tied 18-all.

Just like the first game, Okuhara then showed her aggression to force Sindhu on the defensive. And as the Indian's shot hit the net, the Japanese got her match point.

In the men's singles final, Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan defeated Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto 21-16, 13-21, 21-9 in 58 minutes.

The men's doubles title went to Japanese top seeded pair of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda, who defeated compatriots Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 21-17, 21-19 in 44 minutes.

The mixed doubles final witnessed a huge upset as Indonesian eighth seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja stunned English top seeds Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock 21-12, 21-12 in 28 minutes.

In the women's doubles final, Indonesian fourth seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu thrashed Japanese third seeds Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi 21-13, 21-10 in 53 minutes.

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