New Delhi, December 13: Making a winning streak in the World Tour Finals, Olympic silver medallist, P V Sindhu sweeped out a hard-fight win over world number two and defending champion Akane Yamaguchi in the opening women's singles Group A match of the World Tour Finals, on Wednesday.
Finishing as a runner up in the last edition in Dubai, Sindhu reclined a superb game with patience and aggression by defeating the Japanese 24-22 21-15. Sindhu will face Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan in her second match on Thursday.
Making her third successive appearance at the tournament, Sindhu, who had a 9-4 head-to-head record against Yamaguchi, produced a controlled game in the slow conditions, never letting go despite lagging behind many times in the match.
The first game clocked 27 minutes as both the shuttlers fought tooth and nail for supremacy. Sindhu was trailing 6-11 at the first internal but she fought back to catch up with the Japanese at 19-19 with a smash on her rival's back hand. A battle of mind and body ensued as leads changed hands but it was Sindhu who showed better mental fortitude to claim the opening game after a stretched Yamaguchi sent her forehand return at the net.
In the second game, Yamaguchi tried to put pressure on the Indian's backhand but Sindhu was up to the challenge as she made some superb retrieves to lead 3-1 initially. Persistent pressure worked as Yamaguchi levelled par and went to a 4-3 lead when Sindhu made a judgement-error and soon moved to 6-3. Sindhu however soon grabbed the lead at 8-7 after her rival went wide and then hit the net.
A fantastic rally ended with Sindhu on her knees at the forecourt. She then went long but the Japanese too erred as it was 9-9. At the break, Yamaguchi held a slender 11-10 lead after Sindhu could not properly connect at the forecourt. Sindhu took a 14-11 lead after the break, leading to a nail biting win.
Diverting the attention to the men’s single, Sameer Verma, who is the second Indian men’s player after Kidambi Srikanth to qualify for the tournament, couldn’t adjust to the pace of World No 1 and world champion Kento Momota, going down 18-21, 6-21 in the opening group match.