Pusarla Venkata Sindhu played her heart out but came up short in the badminton women’s singles final of the Asian Games, to settle for a historic silver. She is the first Indian to bag an individual silver in badminton at the Asiad.
In a match where Sindhu was slow off the blocks, she lost to the current world no. 1 and reigning All England champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in straight-games. The final score was 21-13, 21-16.
In a match where Sindhu couldn’t get into her rhythm, she lost the first five points in the match and was never able to recover from it. Her opponent was on top of her game and Sindhu was outplayed in the first-game 21-13.
Sindhu did show signs of life in the second game, but Tai was just too good for her. Tai’s all-around skills and swift court coverage proved too much in the end as she finished the match by winning the second game 21-16.
Sindhu’s incredible road to the final began with a hard-fought three-set thriller against Thi Trang of Vietnam, where she finally prevailed 23-21 in the deciding game. She followed it up with a dominant display against the home favourite Gregoria Mariska, before beating Thai shuttler Nitchaon Jindapol in the quarterfinal convincingly. She then set up an epic semifinal against World No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
In a thrilling encounter which saw the game having numerous twists and turns, Sindhu was able to come away with a victory after a strong display in the deciding game to book her place in the final following a 21-15, 15-21, 21-10 victory. Sindhu had already made history, becoming the first Indian to reach the finals of a badminton singles event at the Asian Games.
Besides this, Sindhu has several firsts to her name. She was the first Indian to win a silver medal in badminton at the Rio Olympics in 2016, where she lost to Spaniard Carolina Marin in the finals. She is also the only Indian to have appeared in two BWF World Championship finals consecutively and bagged two silver medals. In 2017, she had lost to Nozomi Okuhara in the final while earlier this year, she lost to Carolina Marin in the summit clash.
This made her only the second player after Lee Chong Wei to win three consecutive silver medals at major events. She also won gold in the mixed team event as well as silver in the singles event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast.
Sindhu’s national teammate Saina Nehwal also produced a strong showing at the Asiad by taking home the bronze medal after bowing out in the semi-finals.