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Sindhu fights back to storm into Malaysia Masters final

Last updated on: May 25, 2024 19:42 IST

PV Sindhu

IMAGE: PV Sindhu will be playing her first final this year. Photograph: Badminton Photo/BAI Media/X

Double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu on Saturday earned a shot at the US$420,000 Malaysia Masters crown after entering the women's singles final with a come-from-behind win over Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan in Kuala Lumpur.

Fifth seed Sindhu, who last won the 2022 Singapore Open and finished runner-up at the Madrid Spain Masters in 2023, rallied to prevail 13-21, 21-16, 21-12 against world number 20 Busanan in a marathon semifinal that lasted 88 minutes to close in on the BWF World Tour Super 500 crown.


“There's one more match to go and when I win that maybe I'll be much more happier. But I think I'm happy that today it went out really well.

“These kinds of wins definitely gives me a lot of confidence,” Sindhu said after the match.

“There were really long rallies. Losing the first game, the second game was very important for me to maintain that lead. I didn't want to give her a lead as it would have been harder to cover.

“I think third game was important from the first point itself and maintaining that lead definitely made a difference,” she said.

It was her 18th win over Busanan, who has beaten the Indian only once in her career way back in the 2019 Hong Kong Open.

“I am playing Busanan after a really long time. Definitely, her game has changed a lot and even though we played a lot of times, it was a fresh match for me,” Sindhu said.

“I did not go into the court with overconfidence. I just went thinking that I just need to give my best.”

World No. 15 Sindhu, who will be eyeing her third Olympic medal at the Paris Games, will face world No. 7 Wang Zhi Yi of China in the summit clash.

Sindhu had lost to Wang at the Arctic Open last year but has defeated the Chinese twice in three meetings.

"I've played with her a couple of times now and of course she's in the top 10 and it's not going to be easy. It's the, so I just have to give my 100%.

“I think the result is secondary, but the most important thing is how I play against her, keep the shuttle in the court, the strategy that I play.

“I'm sure she must have seen my match. So yeah, it's going to be a different game, but I hope I do well and give my best.”

Sindhu seemed to have found her mojo back as she dished out some attacking badminton this week after looking out of sorts since making a comeback from a knee injury early this season.

It turned out to be a tough fight for Sindhu as she had to do the catching-up job, with Busanan dominating the proceedings in the opening game.

It was a physical battle as the two tested each other in some high-quality long rallies. In the opening game, the Thai was spot on with her executions whether it was the leap smashes or superb blocks, drops or precise drives.

Busanan kept a good pace in the rallies to open up an 8-6 lead with the Indian making a couple of judgement errors at the backline and spraying into the net.

A crisscross net shot, a forehand block gave Busanan a 10-7 lead before she took a two-point cushion at the break.

The Thai constructed the rallies well, drawing Sindhu to the net and sending her to the flanks.

Soon she led 15-9, which she extended to seven points at 17-10.

In the end, Sindhu went to net twice to give seven game points to the Thai, who sealed it with an immaculate backhand block.

In the second game, Sindhu trailed 2-4 but clawed back when Busanan found the net. Sindhu sent a stretched backhand into the net and then missed another one at the backline as Busanan led 6-4.

Sindhu, however, managed to grab the lead at 8-7 with a smash and moved to the break with a two-point advantage, following a lethal cross court smash.

At 12-10, a long rally ended with Busanan faltering with a cross court net shot.

The Thai made some judgement errors but managed to keep breathing down Sindhu's neck at 12-14.

Sindhu dished out a trademark cross court followed by another down-the-line return to move to a three-point advantage at 16-13.

The Indian dominated another rally, leaving Busanan completely out of position to establish an 18-14 lead. Sindhu soon grabbed five game points and converted in her second attempt.

Busanan completely lost control in the decider as she was erratic and struggled with her court coverage while Sindhu looked aggressive.

The Indian soon opened up an 8-3 lead. Errors became too frequent for Busanan as Sindhu grabbed a decisive 11-5 lead at the interval.

After the final change of sides, Busanan tried to close the gap but errors again showed up in her game as Sindhu moved to 17-10.

The Indian grabbed eight match points with her rival going to net and when Busanan went wide, Sindhu raised her arm to mark a subdued celebration.

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