Double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu lifted the Singapore Open Super 500 trophy after outwitting China's Wang Zhi Yi in an intense women's singles final here on Sunday.
In a mistake-filled title clash, Sindhu managed to stay strong in the key moments to come up trumps against the 22-year-old Wang, the reigning Asian Championships gold medallist. The final scoreline read 21-9 11-21 21-15 in the Indian's favour.
The 27-year-old from Hyderabad came into the match with a 1-0 lead over Wang, having beaten the Chinese player in their only meeting at the All England Championships this year. Sindhu produced another fine display to grab her third world tour title of the season.
Toss played a major role in the match with drift in the hall making life difficult for the shuttlers. Wang's decision to choose the side put her in an advantageous position as she played against the drift after the final change of ends. However, Sindhu managed to limit the errors and keep her nerves to emerge victorious in the end.
After losing the first two points, Sindhu used her reach to get the shuttle early, played some superb angled returns, and produced one winner after another to stay ahead all the way in the opening game.
Playing against the drift allowed the Indian to go for her shots even as Wang hit wide and long. Sindhu gathered 11 straight points on the trot to zoom into the mid-game interval at 11-2. The Indian maintained her firm grip on the match after resumption to quickly wrap up the opening game.
The second game, however, turned into a forgettable affair for Sindhu as Wang, now on the better side of the court, displayed her prowess. The Chinese was soon up 11-3 after Sindhu repeatedly sent the shuttle long.
Sindhu tried to use the spinning net shot and use the gaps on the court to make a comeback but points were too few to come by as Wang continued to move ahead.
At 8-15, Sindhu failed to dispose off a weak return with her opponent on the floor. In the end, a jump smash helped Wang grab a massive 10 game points and she converted it in her second attempt to make a roaring comeback.
The match came alive in the decider as the duo played some long rallies. While Wang seemed charged up initially, Sindhu was patient and after an initial duel of 5-5, played a superb smash and then finished a long rally with a delectable drop shot to leave her opponent on the floor.
The Indian grabbed a five-point advantage at the interval after producing another superb cross-court smash from a deep forehand corner. Back to the better side after the final change in ends, Wang reduced the deficit to 11-12 with Sindhu committing errors.
The Indian, however, managed to establish a four-point advantage with a good follow-up shot. Wang played some superb drops and hold-and-disguise pushes to breathe down the Indian's neck.
However, an alert Sindhu produced an attacking return on her rivals' forehand to move to 18-14 before Wang sent one to the net. Just two points away, Sindhu hit long before unleashing a smash to finish an intense rally and grab five match points.
Wang hit wide as Sindhu threw her arms to the air in celebration. The title run will be a big boost for Sindhu, who will be leading the India's charge at the Commonwealth Games, starting July 28 in Birmingham.
This was her third title of the season — having won two Super 300 crowns in Syed Modi International and Swiss Open — and an addition to her brimming cabinet which has a gold, two silver, and as many bronze medals from the World Championships besides two Olympic medals.
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