Sindhu defends Macau Grand Prix title
Two-time World Championship bronze medallist PV Sindhu lifted her first title of the season by successfully defending the $120,000 Macau Grand Prix Gold trophy after seeing off Kim Hyo Min of Korea in the women’s singles final, here on Sunday.
World No. 11 Sindhu prevailed over 91st-ranked, Kim 21-12, 21-17 in the summit clash that lasted 45 minutes at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion here.
The bronze-medallist at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Sindhu faced tough competition from Kim, who had come into the finals after beating seventh seed Chinese Yu Sun but the experienced Indian held her nerves to stave off the challenge from the Korean.
Kim started off on an aggressive note and found the gaps easily to lead 3-0. Sindhu slowly started to decode her rival’s game and not only clawed back at 6-6 with deceptive net play but led 7-6.
Kim wriggled her way out of difficult situation with the help of her back hand returns but she faced resistance from the experienced Sindhu, who used her smashes to notch up winners and entered the interval 11-8 up.
Sindhu dominated the long rallies after the break and caught Kim at the forecourt twice. She also earned points with her soft taps to rush to 19-9 when Kim failed to return a net shot.
The Korean earned a couple of winners with her cross court returns but Sindhu soon reached the game point after making Kim run to four corners of the court. The Indian then clinched the opening game in 20 minutes with a sharp return which Kim couldn’t negotiate. After changing sides, Kim lost a few points hitting long and wide but her cross court slices helped her move neck and neck at 7-7.
Kim went into the lead when Sindhu made some misjudged at the baseline. The Indian also struggled with the length of her fast attacking lifts, allowing Kim to go into lead at 11-8.
Sindhu, however, got back her bearing after the breather as she drew parity and then went into a 13-11 lead with five straight points. Kim gathered two points to once again fight back to 13-13 but the Korean struggled with the drift and hit long and wide to be 13-17 behind.
Kim grabbed a point with two impressive forecourt returns and aided by Sindhu’s error in judgement at the baseline moved to 16-17. A long fierce rally ensued which Sindhu won after pushing the shuttle at the back of the court.
Sindhu earned a healthy four match-point lead when Kim failed to return a shot. Kim saved one when the Indian hit wide but with the Korean herself sending the shuttle out after that, Sindhu clinched her first title of the season.