PV Sindhu won the bronze medal at the 2021 Olympics beating He Bingjiao 21-13, 21-15 in a pulsating match at the Musashino Sport Plaza in Tokyo on Sunday. It was a perfect comeback for Sindhu after losing to World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying in straight games in the second semi-final on Saturday.
PV Sindhu looked unstoppable in the tournament until Saturday when Tai Tzu-ying upset her applecart. The Indian dropped zero sets coming into the penultimate encounter. However, Tai Tzu-ying was in excellent form and all plans to counter her assault was dealt with deft resistance and PV Sindhu was left looking for answers.
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However, on Sunday, it was an all-familiar script for the Indian as she dominated proceedings in style.
PV Sindhu started well with a drop volley and Bingjiao made sloppy work of it. The Indian raced to a 4-0 lead, mixing up her shots well, with a cross-court winner being the best of them all.
An unforced error from Sindhu gave Bingjiao the first point when the Indian found the net and the Chinese player caught on. A drop shot very close to the net reduced the deficit, while a good shot to Sindhu’s right restored parity at 5-5.
There was nothing to separate the players. They matched shot to shot, with delicate net plays, and the length of the rallies gradually increased. While it started with 27, the rally length gradually went up to 30 and also breached the 40-shot mark at one point.
Bingjiao found the net with a smash and that was enough for Sindhu to take a slender 8-6 lead.
PV Sindhu took the lead at 11-8 at the mid-game break, winning a couple of points with fierce smashes, and Park Tae-Sang let out a barrage of instructions to which Sindhu nodded in obeyance.
The strategy the duo discussed worked like a charm as PV Sindhu took a six-point lead soon after when Bingjiao went wide.
Although Bingjiao tried to come back dishing out good forehand shots, unforced errors did her in while Sindhu remained on the attack and wrapped up the first game 21-13.
PV Sindhu mixes it up well
Sindhu got a head start in the second set when Bingjiao went long thrice on the trot. However, Bingjiao tested Sindhu’s reach when she sent one rocketing to the Indian’s right. It was probably one of the few times PV Sindhu missed out on her reach.
Bingjiao reduced the deficit from 1-4 to 4-5 when PV Sindhu found the net a couple of times but the Indian never allowed the Chinese to settle into the game. Sindhu dished out powerful forehand smashes combined with beautiful technique and drift on the trot.
Bingjiao also played into Sindhu’s hands. Unlike Tai Tzu-ying, who didn’t allow Sindhu to settle down and engage in rallies, Bingjiao indulgedinh long duels with Sindhu. It allowed the Indian to mix up her winners easily – drop shots, cross-court winners and fiery forehand smashes.
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PV Sindhu did send the shuttle way down the line a couple of times but had enough in her tank to snatch a 11-8 lead at the mid-game break.
However, it soon became 11-11 when Sindhu made a couple of unforced errors and Bingjiao pounced on the opportunity. PV Sindhu took off instantly with good placement and smashes after that but Bingjiao kept pushing the Indian to the edge.
Sindhu again had the cushion of a slender lead at 16-13 with some brilliant play but Bingjiao continued to make inroads.
Every point mattered for PV Sindhu, evident from her cries of “Come On” that reverbated the stadium. Sindhu seemed in control at 18-14 when Bingjiao couldn’t play a deft drop shot by guiding the shuttle to her own half,
Bingjiao went wide on Sindhu’s left to make it 19-15 in favor of the Indian and a cross-court smash brought PV Sindhu closer to a bronze medal.
Another cross-court smash was out of Bingjiao’s reach and PV Sindhu became India’s second medalist at the Tokyo Olympics 2021 by winning the bronze medal (with Lovlina yet to win her already assured medal).
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