PV Sindhu, India’s second best woman shuttler after Saina Nehwal, has extended her winning streak to 11 matches in 2016 when she triumphed in the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold in Penang on Sunday.
On Sunday, the world No. 12 Sindhu defeated Scotland’s 20th ranked Kirsty Gilmour 21-15 21-9 in a 32-minute encounter in which the Indian was not troubled at all.
The 20-year-old Sindhu became the first women’s singles player to win two Malaysia Masters GPG title in its eight editions following her 2013 victory. The third-seeded also avenged her second-round loss to the Scot in the
French Open Superseries in 2013, which was their only head-to-head clash before the final.
Sindhu entered the Malysian Masters GPG after winning all her six matches in the just-concluded Premier Badminton League though her team, Chennai Smashers, bowed in the semifinals.
“It is a great win and a fantastic start to the season for me. I have been playing well and I was confident of winning ahead of the final. In fact, the semifinal was a tough match and it boosted my confidence,” Sindhu said after the title win.
“I didn’t expect the final to be easy. I had played her long back in 2013 but it was a different match and I am a different player now. I took a lead and didn’t relax and it turned out to be a one-sided match.
“This win has given me a lot of confidence and I hope to do well in the next events, especially at Syed Modi International Badminton Championships (January 26-31), which I am playing next in Lucknow. I will be also playing the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad (February 15-21),” added the two-time World Championships bronze-medallist. Sindhu is third-seeded in next week’s tournament in Lucknow.
Sindhu produced a dominating performance as she showed better court coverage and produced some delectable serves and strokes to outclass her opponent in the summit clash.
In the opening game, Sindhu made early strides, moving to 5-2 and then sped away with her superior game plan. The Indian ace picked the shuttle early and came up with some superb serves and pushed her opponent to commit numerous errors. The Indian had a healthy 12-6 lead which she increased to 18-10.
The Scot, on the other hand, reeled off four straight points but could never threaten Sindhu, who closed the game without much effort. Sindhu produced some awesome smashes and caught the Scottish off-guard with her superior placements. She also dominated the net and used her drop shots to bamboozle her rival.
In the second game, Sindhu once again opened up a slender 5-2 lead which was quickly erased by Gilmour. But the Indian then changed gears and moved to a 9-5 and then jumped to a huge 16-5 lead. The Scottish shuttler tried in vain to narrow the gap but the Indian slammed the door on her rival.
Gilmour tweeted that it was a “Disappointing end to a good week. Happy with my performances but lots to work on!” Gilmour is headed to Lucknow, where she is seeded eighth.
With this win, Sindhu became richer by $9,000 besides Rs 5 lakh cash reward announced by the Badminton Association of India.
(With PTI inputs)