In June, PV Sindhu was bundled out of the Australian Open in the first round. It was the lowest point of what had been a wretched year thus far. Not surprisingly, two months later, Sindhu slipped under the radar when she arrived in Rio de Janerio for her first Olympic Games. All eyes were on her more pedigreed colleague Saina Nehwal, who was among the front-runners to add to her bronze from London four years ago and had captured the title in Australia.
By the end of the Games though, Sindhu had surged into national consciousness. Even as an injured Nehwal hobbled out with a knee injury, Sindhu lit up Rio with a performance of rare sparkle. Three higher ranked opponents were waylaid on the way to the final against World No. 1 Carolina Marin. The match itself drew a record TV audience back home as Sindhu faltered after taking the first game in the contest. Her silver was the first ever won by a female Indian athlete at an Olympics and led to a cataclysm of celebration once she returned home.
Quite simply, everyone wanted a piece of India's latest sporting sensation.
However, Rio was no flash in the pan. In November, Sindhu ticked off another landmark with a pugnacious performance to clinch the China Open, her first Superseries title. Stretching three of her five matches to three games, Sindhu displayed both grit and supreme fitness to pocket the crown. A week later, she found herself in another final in Hong Kong, where she went down but not before securing a spot in the year ending Superseries Finals in Dubai -- a field made up of the top eight elite players in the world. It was a remarkable turnaround in fortunes after the struggles of the first half of the year.
Despite her semifinal exit in Dubai, Sindhu has done enough to underline her status as one of the world's premier players. Having climbed to 5 in the world rankings, expect this feisty 21-year old to make a surge towards even greater glory next year.