PV Sindhu came back from a game down to beat World No.8 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan at the Dubai Superseries finals. The Rio Olympic silver medalist Sindhu lost the first game tamely 12-21. But fought back gallantly to next two game 21-8, 21-15 to seal victory.
There was a big upset in the other match of Group B, when Olympic champion and world No.2 Carolina Marin lost to world No.6 Sun Yu of China in straight games. The top two performers from the group will qualify for the semi-finals, scheduled for Saturday.
The other Group in the fray consists of new World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, South Korea’s Sung Ji-hyun, Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand and China’s He Bingjiao.
The 21-year-old Indian is looking to cap a stunning year after rising to the occasion at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games where she finished runner-up to two-time reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain.
Later, on the professional circuit, she took home the China Open title and lost in the final of the French Open, enabling her entry into the year-closing tournament where only top eight professionals of the year compete.
All these achievements make an indelible year for the young Hyderabadi, who rose from the shadows of her illustrious citymate Saina Nehwal. The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, Saina, will miss the Superseries Finals for the first time since 2010, thanks to injuries.
“It’s good to be here in Dubai. It’s my first time at the Dubai World Superseries Finals. My draw is tough. I have to play well from the start,” Sindhu told Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s website after receiving the Most Improved Player award.
“I didn’t expect to get this award, so I’m excited and happy,” said the world No.10.
Sindhu has kept this tournament specially in mind and preferred not to defend her Macau Open Grand Prix Gold title, which she had held since the last three years.