Playing in her third consecutive World Championships final, P. V. Sindhu finally broke the jinx in Basel, after two heartbreaks – in Glasgow (2017) and Nanjing (2018) – and wrote badminton history in the process.
Twenty-four-year-old Sindhu wrote badminton history as the first Indian to win a world title with a crushing 21-7, 21-7 win over Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the women’s singles final in this year’s edition of the World Championships held in Basel, Switzerland.
It was Sindhu’s third consecutive world championships final. It was heartbreak for the lanky Indian who lost to none other than Okuhara in the final in Glasgow in 2017. Last year was another disappointment when fell at the last hurdle – this time to Spain’s Carolina Marin in Nanjing, China.
In Glasgow, it was a marathon 110-minute energy-sapping final that Okuhara won 21-19, 20-22, 22-20 while Marin walked away with a 21-19, 21-10 win in Nanjing.
It was long-time coming for the lanky Indian lass who immediately after winning the world title took to the microphone in an on-court live interview and said: “This is for you mum” and told the world that it was her mum’s (P. Vijaya’s) birthday on Sunday (Aug 25).”
The gold in Basel means Sindhu has won a medal of every color in the world meet. She also won the bronze medals in Guangzhou (2013) and Copenhagen (2014).
For the record, Sindhu also became the first Indian to win the World Tour Final last year, defeating Okuhara in the title match.
Coming back to the world meet in Basel, Sindhu was in a class of her own as she pummelled from all angles which left Okuhara dazed and clueless in the 37 minutes she was in court -battling to stay alive.
“At times I was nervous but I was determined to win this time and see my country’s flag hoisted and hear the national anthem,” said Sindhu, who en-route to the title had beaten Zhang Beiwen (US), Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) and Chen Yufei (China).
Meanwhile, Japan’s defending champion Kento Momota gave early signals that he will be the man to beat at next year’s Tokyo Olympics. The Japanese ace also took only 37 minutes to retain his title with a ruthless performance for a 21-9, 21-3 win over Denmark’s Anders Antonsen who was the lone European standing on the final day of the championships.
The men’s doubles title went Indonesia’s way with veterans Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan prevailing 25-23, 9-21, 21-15 win over Japanese giant-killers Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi in a 65-minute thriller.
Hoki-Kobayashi had dumped defending champions Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen of China 21-19, 21-13 in the semi-finals.
The women’s doubles final was an all-Japanese affair with defending champions and top seeds Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara going the full distance before prevailing 21-11, 20-22, 23-21 against No 2 seeds Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota in a marathon 85-minutes.
China’s Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong lived up to their top billing to retain their mixed doubles title with an easy 21-8, 21-12 win over Thailand’s No 4 seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai in 36 minutes.
Despite the defeat, the Thai pair became the first from their country to win a medal in the event in the world championships. – Badminton Asia
Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara (JPN) beat Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (JPN) 21-11, 20-22, 23-21
P.V. Sindhu (IND) beat Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) 21-7, 21-7
Kento Momota (JPN) beat Anders Antonsen (DEN) 21-9, 21-3
Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (CHN) beat Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA) 21-8, 21-12
Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (INA) beat Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (JPN) 25-23, 9-21, 21-15