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TOKYO, July 31: Reigning world champion P V Sindhu’s hopes of securing India’s first ever Olympic gold in badminton came crashing down as she slumped to a straight-game defeat against world no.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the women’s singles semifinals here on Saturday.
The 26-year-old silver-medallist from the Rio Games, however, remained in the hunt for a bronze and will be competing against China’s He Bing Jiao in the third place play-off at Musashino Forest Plaza on Sunday.
One of the most consistent players, who has claimed medals in all big-ticket events in the last five years, Sindhu couldn’t counter Tai Tzu’s deception with her aggressive game, going down 18-21, 12-21 here.
“I’m a bit sad because it’s the semifinals, but I tried my best, it’s just not my day. I fought until the end,” said Sindhu after the match.
“In the second game I gave away a huge lead but still I was fighting back because you never know, it can change at any moment. It’s the Olympics, you have to fight until the last point and I have done that.
“I was prepared for her skills, so I don’t think that troubled me a lot. At the end of the day the level of the semifinals is going to be really high – you can’t expect easy points. I just couldn’t be on the winning side.”
This is Sindhu’s 14th loss to the Taiwanese second seed in 19 meetings, having also lost to her in the last three face-offs.
On her bronze medal match, Sindhu said: “It’s going to be a bit sad. I need to go back and relax and prepare for tomorrow because it is not over yet. I still have a chance.
“…I hope I can give my best. It just wasn’t my day (today), but I’m going to try it again tomorrow.”
There is very little margin of error against a player of the calibre of Tai Tzu, who has been the most consistent shuttler in the last five years and is known for her deceptive strokes and immaculate footwork.
Sindhu seemed a tad sluggish in her movement and couldn’t find her flow. The Taiwanese second seed targeted her opponent’s body and cramped Sindhu with her sharp returns from near the net. (PTI)
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