PV Sindhu’s hopes of securing India’s maiden Olympic gold imploded on Saturday after the reigning world champion suffered a straight-game defeat against Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in women’s singles semi-finals.
The Indian shuttler had no answers to Tai’s acute angles and deceptive shots as Sindhu lost the first game in 21 minutes and the second in 19 minutes to lose the all-important contest.
Former India chief coach Vimal Kumar also described the defeat as a “disappointing” one but praised Tai’s deft touch and skilful play. “It’s a disappointing loss. It’s not a terrible loss, Tai was just outstanding today and she outclassed Sindhu,” Vimal Kumar told India TV.
Vimal also pointed out that Sindhu would have had an upper hand if she had attacked “a little more” to take the first game. The 26-year-old from Hyderabad kept retrieving everything thrown at her but most rallies went in the Tapei shuttler’s favour.
Sindhu’s cross-court smashes, attacking tosses and angled returns weren’t enough to trump Tai, who picked up the rhythm as the match progressed.
Sindhu had a two-point lead at 16-14 in the first game but Tai wiped it out before hitting a down-the-line smash into the backhand corner and securing the game 21-18.
“If Sindhu had pushed the pace and attacked a little more when she was against the wind she could have taken that first game. She did not lunge at the net and played her dribbles and kept on pushing everything back,” Vimal further said.
Sindhu may have lost the semi-final contest but the Rio silver medallist still has a chance to clinch her second Olympic medal. In the bronze medal play-off, Sindhu will next take on world no 9 He Bing Jiao, an opponent who has beaten the Indian nine times so far in 15 meetings.