Copenhagen: India’s P.V. Sindhu had to be content with the bronze as Spaniard Carolina Marin proved the better shuttler on the day, winning the women’s singles semi-final quite easily in straight games at the World Badminton Championships here Saturday.
The 11th-seeded Sindhu had created history Friday when she made the last four to become the first Indian to notch two medals at the sport’s most prestigious event, having also clinched the bronze last year in Guangzhou.
Expecting to go one better this time around, the ninth-seeded Spaniard halted that dream by taking the contest 21-17, 21-15 in 47 minutes at the 9,200-seater Ballerup Super Arena.
With the victory, the World No.10 Carolina proceeded to the summit clash where she will take on World No.1 and reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China.
Carolina started the match in perfect fashion going into a 6-2 lead at the start. However, the 19-year-old Sindhu made optimum use of her height to scalp the next six points and snatch the lead.
However, the feisty Spaniard looked much more confident and used her deceptive shots to catch her Indian opponent off-guard and take as many points as possible.
The European champion was way ahead at 18-11 but Sindhu tried fighting back. But it was little too late as the 21-year-old Spaniard closed the game in her favour in the next couple of minutes.
Carolina shouts at winning points helped in unsettling the Hyderabadi, who tried hard but looked a bit tired after two extremely long matches in the previous two rounds.
Though the Spanish girl tried carrying the momentum into the second round, it turned out to be a neck-and-neck affair with Sindhu coming out with a better game.
But as the game progressed, Sindhu’s body language did not look positive and Carolina took full advantage of that to retrieve almost everything.
It seemed it was Carolina’s day as even her mistimed shots were turning out to be winners.
Sindhu tried flat smashes which became too predictable for the Spaniard, who in turn used some exquisite cross-court drops from the back of the court, completely surprising Sindhu.
The fact that Carolina is a left-handed player also could have gone against Sindhu whose matches so far in the tournament have been against right handers.
The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist’s shots lacked the venom and from 13-all, Carolina won eight of the next 10 points to seal her spot in the final and also take a 2-1 lead in career meetings over Sindhu.
Nevertheless, the bronze is also a big achievement for the Indian.
This is only the fourth time that an Indian has won a medal at the Worlds. Legendary Prakash Padukone started the trend here in 1983 when he won the men’s singles bronze.
It took Indian shuttlers another 28 years to win a metal when Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa clinched the women’s doubles bronze in 2011. Now Sindhu has won the women’s singles bronze in back-to-back years.