PV Sindhu got the better of China's Wang Zhi Yi to clinch the Singapore Open Super 500 trophy on Sunday. This was Sindhu's third world tour title of the year.
In what was an error-ridden clash, Sindhu stayed strong in key moments to come up trumps against the 22-year-old Wang, the reigning Asian Championships gold medallist, and seal a 21-9, 11-21, 21-15 victory.
Sindhu, 27, came into the match with a 1-0 lead over Wang, having beaten the Chinese player in their only meeting at the All England Championships this year. The toss played a major role in the match as the drift in the hall posed a stiff challenge for the players. Wang's decision to choose the side put her in an advantageous position as she played against the drift after the final change of ends. However, Sindhu managed to limit the errors and keep her nerves to emerge victorious.
After losing the first two points in the opening game, Sindhu used her reach to get the shuttle early, played some superb angled returns, and produced numerous winners stay ahead. Playing against the drift allowed the Indian to go for her shots even as Wang hit wide and long. Sindhu notched up 11 straight points on the trot to zoom into the mid-game interval at 11-2. The Indian maintained her firm grip on the match after resumption to quickly wrap up the opening game.
The second game, however, saw Sindhu cede momentum and Wang, now on the better side of the court, displayed her prowess. The Chinese stormed to a 11-3 lead and was helped by Sindhu's repeated unforced errors. Sindhu tried to use the spinning net shot and exploit the gaps on the court to make a comeback but the points were too few to come by as Wang continued to move ahead. At 8-15, Sindhu failed to finish off a weak return with her opponent on the floor. In the end, a jump smash helped Wang grab 10 game points and she converted it in her second attempt to level the match.
The decider was a closely contested affair and featured some long rallies. While Wang seemed charged up initially, Sindhu was patient and grabbed a five-point advantage at the interval after producing a superb cross-court smash from a deep forehand corner.
Back to the better side after the final change in ends, Wang reduced the deficit to 11-12 with Sindhu committing errors. The Indian, however, took a four-point advantage with a good follow-up shot. Wang came up with clinical drop shots and hold-and-disguise pushes to keep the pressure on Sindhu. Sindhu soaked up the pressure well and took an 18-14 lead, before before Wang sent one to the net.
Just two points away, Sindhu hit long before unleashing a smash to finish an intense rally and grab five match points. Wang hit wide on the following point and Sindhu threw her arms to the air to celebrate her title triumph.
The title run will be a big boost for Sindhu, who will lead India's charge at the Commonwealth Games, starting July 28 in Birmingham. This was her third title of the season -- having won two Super 300 crowns in Syed Modi International and Swiss Open -- and an addition to her brimming cabinet which has a gold, two silver, and as many bronze medals from the World Championships besides two Olympic medals.