|P.V. Sindhu, in Guangzhou, on Saturday
Calcutta/Guangzhou: India’s rising star shuttler PV Sindhu settled for a bronze medal at the World Championships after suffering a straight-game defeat against world No. 3 Ratchanok Inthanon in the semi-finals of the prestigious event on Saturday.
World No. 12 Sindhu, playing in her maiden World Championships, had notched up stunning victories against two Chinese players in the run up to the semi-finals. But she failed to put it across Ratchanok, going down 10-21, 13-21 in a 36-minute women’s singles match.
Ratchanok mixed her strokes well and moved smoothly across the court. Sindhu, on the other hand, committed too many unforced errors allowing her opponent to move into the interval at 11-4 in the opening game. Ratchanok used her deceptive shots to flummox Sindhu, who struggled in anticipation.
The Indian failed to gauge the Thai girl’s game and also ended up hitting the shuttle wide and out to allow Ratchanok to move to 19-10. Ratchanok then moved to a 10-point lead with a straight baseline smash, and with Sindhu hitting out again she had the upperhand after the opening game.
Sindhu struggled with her strokes in the second game too, as her returns were buried into the net and she also made some judgmental errors as Ratchanok opened up a 8-1 lead early on.
A few points at the net saw Sindhu make it 5-10 but another unforced error by the Indian took Ratchanok to 11-5 at the break. Ratchanok was accurate and played some sensational strokes to leave Sindhu without any answer. Sindhu tried to match Ratchanok in the rallies, but the Thai girl was always a step ahead with her wide array of strokes.
Leading 19-12, Ratchanok earned eight match points when Sindhu’s shuttle went out again. Sindhu saved one match point with a smash but Ratchanok soon grabbed the last point with a jump smash which caught Sindhu offguard. Ratchanok, 18, is the first shuttler from her country to be assured of a silver at the World Championship.
The Thai girl won the India Open in New Delhi and also the Thailand Open Grand Prix gold this year. She is also a three-time world junior championship gold-medallist. She also won a silver in the 2010 Asian Games here.
A look at the draw and she knew it was not going to be easy but Sindhu said she never underestimated herself as she slayed one giant after another for the historic bronze medal. Sindhu, ranked 12th, on Saturday suffered a 1021, 1321 loss to world No. 3 Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand in the semifinal to settle for a bronze medal at the prestigious event.
The 18-year-old is the first woman shuttler from India to get a singles medal at the mega-event. “I am a bit upset after the loss, but I am happy to win the bronze. It was my first World Championship and it is a big victory for me,” Sindhu said .
“Actually, the World Championship draw was really tough for me because all the good players were there and I knew I had to play really well. I had to play Wang Yihan and Shixian Wang.
“I was coming from an injury and missed two tournaments, so I just wanted to give my best, my 100 per cent,” she added.
Playing in her maiden World Championships, Sindhu notched up stunning victories against two Chinese players in the run-up to the semi-finals but she failed to read Ratchanok’s deceptive game.
Talking about the semi-final match, Sindhu said: “It was tough. She played really well and there were plenty of errors from my side.
“I want to come back stronger and next time I want to be better,” she said. Sindhu, who committed a lot of unforced errors, however, didn’t want to blame the drift for her failure.
“The drift was there but I don’t want to complain because it is common for all. It is there for them too. It is all in the game and how you play that is what matters at the end of the day,” said the girl from Hyderabad.
Sindhu’s mentor and national coach Pullela Gopichand, who was there at the Tianhe Indoor Stadium to guide the rising star, said: “Ratchanok played very well. She is very deceptive. Sindhu could not get into the groove.”