New Delhi: India's PV Sindhu lost out to 18-year-old Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand rather tamely in straight games 12-21, 6-21 in just 31 minutes in the semi-finals of the India Open here at the Siri Fort Sports Complex on Saturday.
In the most anticipated clash of the day, the future of women's badminton was on display with the 17-year-old Sindhu taking on vastly talented and highly rated Intanon but the match failed to live up to its billing.
Playing each other for the first time in their career, both the players started off well in the first game going neck-and-neck at the start. Sindhu though faltered failing to judge a couple of long calls on the line. Intanon displayed her impressive array of shots shifting from powerful smashes to drop shots taking fast points against the lanky Indian. Sindhu was concentrating more on the rallies trying to stretch the points but failed to do so as the Thai shuttler took a crucial seven point lead at 17-10.
Sindhu broke the momentum with a cross court smash and then induced Intanon to hit the shuttle wide. Sindhu though committed an error trailing 12-18 hitting the shuttle to the net from which the world number six took the first game 21-12 in just sixteen minutes.
In the second, Intanon increased her pace, and even though Sindhu played aggressively, the Intanon got her defensive play into the act frustrating the Indian. Intanon was quick to capitalise on the errors committed by the world number 16 racing to a big 11-3 lead at the half-way mark. Sindhu grew jittery hitting too many easy shots wide and long. Intanon then broke through furthermore and in no time amassed 15 straight points to seal the deal at 21-6.
After the match Sindhu said: "I did not play well, there were a lot of negatives in my game. I played well in the starting taking three-three points and she was making it equal. But after 11 points, I committed a lot of errors and too many shots were going out."
"Reading her game was not an issue, I knew she would blaze, but then my strokes were going out and she was able to recover my crosses rather comfortably."
After a competitive first game, her opponent routed Sindhu with a scoreline of 21-6. "In the second game, I gave away a huge lead and at one point she took a lead of almost 11 points consecutively. I was taking it point by point but the lead was so big and I lost the game," reflected the Indian shuttler.
On being asked about her performance and her next tournament, the Malaysian Open where she is the top seed, Sindhu added, "I am happy with my performance here reaching the semis but wish could have played a lot better. I am hopeful to do well in Malaysia."