GLASGOW, Aug 27: PV Sindhu once again missed out on a big global title as she came up short against a spirited Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the women's singles final at the BWF World Championship.
The lower ranked Okuhara won 21-19, 20-22, 22-20 in an energy-sapping summit clash, which tested the skills and fitness levels of both the athletes.
Sindhu looked to be in cruise control as she took a five-point lead in the first game, going up 11-6. But Okuhara returned in an all new attacking avatar after the change of sides and dictated the terms of play, completely surprising her opponent.
Okuhara upped the ante and zoomed ahead into lead, but Sindhu wasn't ready to give in and she equalled the first game at 19-19. Okuhara though kept her cool to take the game 21-19.
The second game saw Okuhara and Sindhu fight toe to toe, matching each other in rallies, drop points and net play. At the break, Sindhu held a slight advantage at 11-9, but Okuhara's tremendous defensive abilities and persistence kept her in the game.
Sindhu broke away to a three point lead at 20-17 and had three game points, but the Japanese rallied back to tie the game at 20-20. At 21-20 Sindhu again had the advantage and then came the point of the match as the two girls traded 73 shots in a rally for the ages with Sindhu finally winning the point to tie the match at a game all.
Okuhara came out all guns blazing in the decider and raced to a 5-1 lead but Sindhu came right back into the match by winning four consecutive points. She once again led the match at the change of sides but Okuhara's ability to dig deep in her reserves kept her in the game.
Sindhu broke away to take a two-point lead at 19-17 but Okuhara played long points and kept her cool to get back to 19-19. Sindhu then committed an unforced error by hitting the shuttle into the net to hand her opponent a world championship point.
This was followed by yet another tense rally that saw Sindhu come out on top as she hit a great shot down the line. Okuhara got another match point at 21-20 as Sindhu hit the net again and this time she converted it by winning the final point with a delicate cross-court drop shot.
Earlier, Sindhu cruised into the final of the World Championship with an easy win over Chen Yufei of China.
The 22-year-old Sindhu notched up a straight-game (21-13, 21-10) win over World No. 10 Chen in the women�s singles semifinal last night, to assure India of at least a silver medal from her after compatriot Saina Nehwal had to settle for a bronze.
Nozomi Okuhara had beaten Saina 12-21, 21-17, 21-10 in the first semifinal yesterday.
This was Sindhu�s first final appearance in the World Championship and thus her best ever performance. This was the third medal for Sindhu in the World Championship, having won bronze twice in 2013 and 2014 after losing at the semifinal stage in both the editions.
India has won one silver (through Saina in 2015) and four bronze in the World Championships before this Glasgow edition.
Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to have won a medal with his bronze in men�s singles in 1983 before the Indian women�s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bagged a bronze in 2011.
Sindhu became the only second Indian to reach the final of a World Championship after Saina achieved that feat in the last edition at Jakarta.
This was India�s best ever show in a World Championship as the country managed to grab two medals for the first time. � Agencies