Sindhu eludes Wang in Malaysia Masters final | Sports News

KUALA LUMPUR: India’s star shuttler PV Sindhu stumbled at the finish line to lose in three games to world number seven Wang Zhiyi of China in the summit showdown on Sunday, further raising her hopes of winning the coveted title.

Fifth-seeded Sindhu, a double Olympic champion, won gold medals at the Singapore Open and Commonwealth Games in 2022 and was runner-up at the Madrid Spain Masters in 2023.

The title seemed within reach for the world number 15 as she led 11-3 in the deciding match, but the former world champion suffered a shocking collapse after the final change of ends to lose the women’s singles final 21-16, 5-21, 16-21 in a 79-minute final.

While the win was sheer joy, her impressive run to the final will be a huge boost to Sindhu’s confidence as she puts the finishing touches on her preparations for the Paris Olympics.

It was her first time competing in a BWF World Tour final in over a year.

“Overall, I would say it was a very good match. It’s a bit disappointing but there’s a lot to take from this match and the tournament as a whole,” said Sindhu, ranked 15th in the world.

“I’m happy to at least be in the final. I played well. This match will definitely be a big confidence booster for me, but I could have won. But today just wasn’t that day.”

Sindhu used her composure and power to dominate reigning Asian champion Wang for most of the match, but it all came crashing down when the trophy slipped out of her hands after the break in the deciding match.

Sindhu, who has won silver and bronze medals in the last two Olympic Games, lost to Wang at last year’s Arctic Open but has won two of her three meetings against Chinese players.

Interestingly, it was Wang who Sindhu beat in the final of her last BWF title at the Singapore Open.

Sindhu led 11-3 at halftime in the third game but a string of errors after the change of sides allowed Wang to win 18 of the next 23 points to lift the trophy.

Sindhu, who will be chasing her third Olympic medal in Paris, has looked restless since returning from a knee injury earlier this season.

It has been a long time since Sindhu defeated strong players such as Carolina Marin, Tai Tzu Ying, Chen Yufei and Akane Yamaguchi, who are expected to face her at the Paris Olympics.

But while the 28-year-old from Hyderabad, who currently trains at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bengaluru, has looked in good form this week, his loss to Wang from a position to win is something he will want to address in the coming months.

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