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regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu one step away from Malaysia Masters title

Fifth seed Sindhu, who has not won a title in two years, rallied her way to prevail 13-21 21-16 21-12 against world number 20 Busanan in a marathon semifinal that lasted 88 minutes

PTI Kuala Lumpur Published 25.05.24, 02:57 PM
It was Sindhu's 18th win over Busanan, who has beaten the Indian only once in her career way back in 2019 Hong Kong Open

It was Sindhu's 18th win over Busanan, who has beaten the Indian only once in her career way back in 2019 Hong Kong Open X / @India_AllSports

Double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu on Saturday earned a shot at the USD 420,000 Malaysia Masters crown after entering the women's singles finals with a come-from-behind win over Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan here.

Fifth seed Sindhu, who has not won a title in two years, rallied to prevail 13-21 21-16 21-12 against world number 20 Busanan in a marathon semifinal that lasted 88 minutes to close in on the BWF World Tour Super 500 crown at the Axiata Arena.

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Sindhu had won the 2022 Singapore Open and finished runner-up at Madrid Spain Masters last year.

It was her 18th win over Busanan, who has beaten the Indian only once in her career way back in 2019 Hong Kong Open.

World No. 15 Sindhu, who will be eyeing her third Olympic medal at the Paris Games in two months time, will face second seed and world no. 7 Wang Zhi Yi of China in the summit clash.

Sindhu had lost to Wang at the Arctic Open last year but has defeated the Chinese twice in three meetings.

A silver and bronze medallist in the last two editions of the Olympics, Sindhu seemed to have found her mojo back as she dished out some attacking badminton this week after looking out of sorts since making a comeback from a knee injury early this season.

It has been a while since Sindhu has defeated big guns such as Carolina Marin, Tai Tzu Ying, Chen Yu Fei and Akane Yamaguchi -- whom she is expected to come across at the Paris Olympics. A title triumph here will provide her a major boost ahead of the Summer Games.

Despite her overwhelming record against Busanan, it turned out to be a tough fight for Sindhu as she had to do the catching-up job, with the Thai dominating the proceedings in the opening game.

It was a physical battle as the two tested each other in some high-quality long rallies. In the opening game, the Thai was spot on with her executions whether it was the leap smashes or superb blocks, drops or precise drives.

Busanan kept a good pace in the rallies to open up a 8-6 lead with the Indian making a couple of judgement errors at the backline and spraying into the net.

A crisscross net shot, a forehand block gave Busanan a 10-7 lead before she took a two-point cushion at the break.

The Thai constructed the rallies well, drawing Sindhu to the net and sending her to the flanks. Soon she led 15-9, which she extended to seven points at 17-10. In the end, Sindhu went to net twice to give seven game points to the Thai, who sealed it with an immaculate backhand block.

In the second game, Sindhu lagged 2-4 but clawed back when Busanan found the net. Sindhu sent a stretched backhand into the net and then missed another one at the backline as Busanan led 6-4.

A fighting Sindhu, however, managed to grab the lead at 8-7 with a smash and moved to the break with a two-point advantage, following a lethal cross court smash.

At 12-10, a long rally ended with Busanan faltering with a cross court net shot. The Thai made some judgement errors but managed to keep breathing down Sindhu's neck at 12-14.

Sindhu dished out a trademark cross court followed by another down-the-line return to move to a three-point advantage at 16-13.

The Indian dominated another rally, leaving Busanan completely out of position to establish an 18-14 lead. Sindhu soon grabbed five game points and converted in her second attempt.

Spectacular in the opening game, Busanan completely lost control in the decider as she was erratic and struggled with her court coverage while Sindhu looked aggressive.

The Indian soon opened up a 4-1 lead and swelled it to 8-3. Errors became too frequent for Busanan as Sindhu grabbed a decisive 11-5 lead at the interval. After the final change of sides, Busanan tried to close the gap but errors again showed up in her game as Sindhu moved to 17-10.

The Indian grabbed eight match points with Busanan going to net again and when Busanan again went wide, Sindhu raised her arm to mark a subdued celebration.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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