Ahmedabad: In a summit clash, India’s Olympic silver medallist shuttler PV Sindhu was outstaged by American challenger Beiwen Zhang in the finals of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2018 at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium on Sunday, losing 21-18, 11-21, 22-20. Zhang, who is ranked World Number 11, won her first major title despite playing with a torn ligament.
A crowd favourite for the title, Sindhu faced Zhang, a surprise finalist who had previously knocked out Saina Nehwal in the quarterfinal round. Sindhu had begun the first game strong but Zhang’s smashes soon started taking a toll on her, and Sindhu eventually lost the first game 21-18. Sindhu came back aggressively, as is her typical manner under pressure, and won a hard-fought second game 21-11. The final game began with Zhang regaining her momentum. The American held a two point lead over the Indian by the mid-game interval, and after a bout of intense sparring, grabbed the India Open trophy with a 22-20 win in the final game.
It is unlikely that Sindhu, who is currently World Number 4, underestimated Zhang as an opponent, since the latter had defeated all the Indians she faced in the women’s singles draw, including World Number 10 Saina Nehwal.
Sindhu had overcome Thailand’s third-seeded Ratchanok Intanon in the semifinal to set up a final clash to defend her title.