PV Sindhu’s wait for her first title on the tour outside World Championships in 2019 continues as the Indian star was knocked out in the quarter-final of French Open on Friday.
World No. 6 Sindhu lost a highly-entertaining and fiercely-fought match against top-ranked Tai Tzu Ying 21-16, 26-24, 17-21. Long rallies, jaw-dropping drops and never-say-die attitude were on display in an hour and 15-minute classic at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.
Sindhu and Tai began the late evening match with some exhilarating rallies but Tai took control of the game with some delightful net play. Tai went into the mid-game break with a slender 1-point lead but she comfortably won the game, converting the 1st of her 4 game points.
The 2nd game had more action as long rallies dominated the narrative. After clinching a 42-shot rally to make it 11-11, Sindhu came up with a dogged effort to stay in the match and force a decider. The two shuttlers, who gave it their all on the court, kept trading points before Sindhu took it 26-24.
Tai Tzu Ying was able to gain an early advantage in the deciding game by controlling the rallies better than her opponent. Despite letting PV Sindhu come back into the game after the mid-game break, Tai held her nerves and converted only her 1st match point.
This was Sindhu’s 11th loss to Tai in 16 meetings as the Chinese Taipei shuttler brought an end to a 2-match losing streak against the Indian.
Sindhu has been struggling for form since her title-winning run at World Championships in Basel in August.
Sindhu would have found it hard to qualify for the World Tour Finals as she is currently placed 14th in the Race to Guangzhou rankings. However, the world title she won in Basel will give her direct entry to the prestigious season-ending tournament.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty continue fine run
Meanwhile, there was good news for India’s top-ranked men’s doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty. The Indian duo, which had claimed its maiden Super 500 title at the Thailand Open in August this year, shocked World No 8 Danish pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 21-13 22-20 in a 39-minute quarter-final encounter.
This was also Satwik and Chirag’s 2nd straight entry into the semi-finals of French Open.
Earlier in the day, London Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal crashed out after losing her women’s singles quarter-final to Korean teenager An Su Young. The 17-year-old needed just 49 minutes to defeat Saina 20-22, 21-23 and progress to the semi-final.
Saina Nehwal had headed to Paris on the back of 3 successive 1st-round exits. Injury concerns coupled with dip in form saw Saina struggle to reach the business end of tournaments on the tour since her title-winning run at Indonesia Masters in January.
However, there were signs of improvement when Saina Nehwal started the ongoing Super 750 tournament in France with 2 relative comfortable wins. The 7th seed had beaten Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong and Liane Kjaersfeldt of Denmark in straight games before crashing out on Friday.