Sindhu seizes Macau Open title for third time
Macau : Two-time defending champion P V Sindhu completed a hat-trick of women’s singles title at the USD 120,000 Macau Open Grand Prix Gold after defeating Japan’s Minatsu Mitani in the finals here on Sunday. Sindhu produced a dominating game to notch up a 21-9, 21-23, 21-14 win against sixth seed Mitani in a women’s singles match that lasted an hour and six minutes here. World No. 12 Indian dished out some superb strokes and acute angled returns to bamboozle the Japanese, besides making some sound judgements at the baseline to get across Mitani, who struggled to keep the shuttle inside the court. Sindhu dominated the proceedings right from the start as she rode on the errors of Mitani to reach 11-5 at the break. Mitani came up with an aggressive rally and sealed it with a down the line smash but she failed to curb her errors and most of her returns went wide and long to allow Sindhu lead 17-6 in a jiffy.
Sindhu, on the other hand, was mostly accurate with her smashes and drops as she lead 19-9. The Indian came up with some acute angled returns to trouble Mitani and reached the game point with a smash. The Japanese then went wide to hand over the first game to Sindhu. After the change of sides, Sindhu once again started on a confident note but she also began missing the lines and Mitani lead 4-2. The Indian checked her unforced errors and came up with stunning smashes to wrest the lead and move to 7-4. Sindhu made a few wrong judgements at the baseline and also found the net to allow Mitani to surge ahead. At 10-9, Mitani produced her first winner, a cross court smash, which left a stretched Sindhu stranded to go into the break with two-point lead. Mitani started off with a service fault but the Japanese came up with accurate placements which caught Sindhu off guard. But the Indian kept breathing down her neck and clawed back at 16-16.
The duo moved neck-and-neck till 19-19 when Sindhu made an important line judgement to move to match point. But she sent the shuttle long next. A delicate net point once again gave Sindhu a 21-20 match point but Mitani saved again. Sindhu next hit long to give the game point to Mitani, who grabbed the opportunity after the Indian netted following a long engrossing rally. Back on her winning side, Sindhu once again marched ahead to a 5-3 lead. Mitani continued to struggle with her line judgements and returns to allow Sindhu establish a big lead at 9-4. The duo engaged in some long rallies with cross court strokes and back and forth returns.
At one point, an on rushing Mitani came up with an aggressive net play to grab a point but Sindhu ensured she has a healthy 11-7 lead at the break. After the interval, Sindhu grabbed six of the next eight points before Mitani pocketed a point with a superb net play. Sindhu lost a point when the linesmen judged a shuttle in but she grabbed the next with a timely stroke that grounded Mitani. Mitani then made a wrong line call while Sindhu got one right to move into the match point at 20-11. The Japanese saved three match points but a composed Sindhu didn’t panic and waited for Mitani’s error and she soon send the shuttle wide again to help Sindhu complete her hat trick of titles.
“It is a great win. I am really happy for the victory. Of course it is a hat-trick. Overall it was a good performance. In the finals, the first game was easy but in the second game she (Mitani) played some long rallies, I could have finished it off but I played two smashes into the nets at crucial moments and it was very disappointing,” Sindhu told PTI. “However, in the third game, I took a lead and maintained that, and overall it was a good tournament for me. Mitani is a good player. I lost to her at Japan Open but I am happy I could beat her today,” added the 20-year-old, who is flying to Indonesia tonight. Sindhu will next play at the USD 120,000 Indonesia Masters Grand Prix Gold where she will open her campaign against local shuttler Gregoria Mariska. Meanwhile, Badminton Association of India president Akhilesh Das Gupta has announced a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakhs for Sindhu.