For PV Sindhu, a ‘ferrytale’ ending at Macau Open

PV Sindhu beats Japan’s Minatsu Mitani 21-9, 21-23, 21-14 to win three-peat of Macau GP Gold title.

PV Sindhu’s fairytale tryst with Macau a third time in as many years involves a ferry. An hour’s ride from Hong Kong — it’s the only way to get to the island — she has made it a habit to land at the Rua de Ferreira do Amaral address where the Grand Prix Gold is held, on the back of a bumpy season.

This year after sitting out a quarter of the year owing to injury, the Hyderabadi made her maiden Super Series final at Denmark, typically beat all the top names and lost to them in equal measure, and reached the fag end of the season at Macau to pick her habitual title. At 20, Sindhu has three of those, a three-peat that ensures she defends her points essentially (with an eye on the ranking) and after another GP event in Java, Indonesia, finishes a season with hopes high for the Olympic year. On Sunday, she outlasted a second Japanese in Minatsu Mitani, a day after she’d accounted for second-seed Japanese prodigy Akane Yamaguchi.

Both were three setters, with plenty of drama infused into the middle set, as the Indian ranked No. 12 in the world, did the running about in the long rallies expected against the Japanese.

Today she won 21-9, 21-23, 21-14, botching two match points dragging the contest into a decider, which in her patent whirlwind fashion, she finished in a hurry.

Net coming in the way
Taking the opener, Sindhu would trail the busybody Japanese 9-11, and then 14-16 in the second. She would level scores at 18-all, and stand a point away from taking the match, before the mistakes foolishly rushed in. “At both match points, I would hit it into the net, and those were crucial I was a bit disappointed,” she said.

And to prove that it was a silly trifle of a glitch, she would race to a 9-3 lead in the decider. “I took the lead and kept it,” she said, logging out at 1 hr 6 minutes.

In the semis against Yamaguchi too, Sindhu had once served into the net and given away cheap points in misfired smashes. They sound like quibbles on a day she wins Macau a third year in a row, but in bigger tournaments, she would do well to construct wins with economy and preserve energy. Yet, she is only 20. “I’m very, very happy for the hat-trick,” she said after the title, for a second time saying, “could’ve finished it in straight two sets but ..”

Sindhu had lost to Mitani, a World No 18, and stubborn, pestering sort of a scourge, at Japan. The Japanese obsessively keep the shuttle in play and can play the forever-waiting game, and even win against impetuous impatient players. “Overall I played well in the tournament. From the first round, there weren’t easy players and I could withstand the long rallies,” Sindhu said.

Post the win, it was back on the ferry for the Indian youngster who intends to play all the tournaments in the lead up to the Olympics to get her rankings up and reclaim her Top 10 status.