Despite PV Sindhu having beaten her in the past, Carolina Marin remained a tough cookie to crack, but the defeat in the Rio Olympics women badminton finals has made Sindhu India’s first female individual silver medallist.
PV Sindhu, who had already become a part of an exclusive club of five female individual Olympic medallists in the country, failed to tame the one-woman Spanish armada.
The firebrand Hyderabadi shuttler, who was on a giant-killing run leading up to the finals could not manage to stay true to her game, giving in to too many unforced errors.
Sindhu trailed for most part in the beginning of the first game, before taking it 21-19 with a run of five straight points.
The second game began in similar fashion as the first, with Marin taking an early lead. At the mid-game interval, Marin had a commanding lead with the score reading 11-2. She continued in the same vein and dominated throughout to take the game 21-12.
So it was still anybody’s match heading into the third game.
In the third game too, Marin took an early lead. Sindhu fought back to bring the scores level at 10-10. Marin then opened up a four point lead at 15-11 before closing it out at 21-15.
Having already made her way into the finals of the Olympic badminton competition and ensuring the silver medal for the country, Sindhu had an uphill task against the World No. 1 on Friday evening.
Incidentally, this is the second medal in this edition of the Olympics for India after wrestler Sakshi Malik won bronze at the last moment in her dramatic ‘repechage’ match, thus ending India’s medal drought.
Sindhu's fairy-tale run against the odds (after higher ranked Saina Nehwal’s exit), inspired millions to watch a sport which has always been relegated in the cricket-crazy nation.
Sindhu had already beat three higher seeded players in the run-up to the finals, including World No 6 Nozomi Okuhara in the semi-finals and World No 2 Wang Yihan in the quarters, but was unable to deal with Marin’s all-court game.
Marin is not just the current World No.1 but had also not lost a single game in the tournament thus far. In the semi-finals, she had dismantled defending champion Li Xuerui of China (World No. 3) by beating her in straight games 21-14, 21-16.
Southpaw Marin has already won gold medals in the 2014 and 2015 World Championships, the 2014 and 2016 European Championships and the 2015 All England Championships.