NEW DELHI, April 2: PV Sindhu’s brilliant run at the Madrid Spain Masters came to an end with a runner-up finish as the Indian shuttler suffered a straight-game loss against Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung in the summit clash of Super 300 badminton tournament.
Sindhu, who was playing her first final of the year, turned out to be no match for world number 12 Tunjung losing 8-21, 8-21 in a match that lasted just 29 minutes.
Despite coming into the finals with a dominating 7-0 lead over the 23-year-old Indonesian, Sindhu looked a pale shadow of her old self as an opportunity to seal her first crown in eight months slipped out of her hands.
Nevertheless, the final finish will give her some confidence in a crucial year which will see the Paris Olympic qualification process start next month.
Sindhu, a former world champion, last won a title at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August 2022, while her last world tour crown came at the Singapore Open in July last year.
The 27-year-old from Hyderabad, who currently trains under Vidhi Chaudhary following the exit of Korea’s Park Tae Sang, entered the final after coming into the tournament following a failed bid to defend her title at the Swiss Open.
During the week the Indian showed flashes of her brilliance as she didn’t drop a game en route to the final.
However, on Sunday Sindhu couldn’t match the tactical acumen and sharpness of Tunjung, a former junior world champion, who was part of the Indonesian women’s team which won the 2022 Asia Team Championships.
Tunjung tried to put the shuttle on Sindhu’s forehand corner and then draw her to the net. It worked as the Indonesian led 5-1 early on.
Sindhu tried to make a comeback, narrowing the lead to 5-7 but Tunjung’s precision and angled returns helped her to move to 10-5 before she sealed a five-point lead at the mid-game interval.
While Sindhu made a series of misjudgement at the backline, Tunjung stayed a step ahead with her deceptive strokes and ability to produce winners.
In a jiffy, the Indonesian was 19-6 up with another faboulous shot and grabbed 12 game points with another body smash after charging at the net. Tunjung sealed the first game in just 11 minutes after Sindhu went to the net.
Sindhu was made to run around the court by Tunjung, who dictated the pace with her flurry of strokes.
The Indian had no answers to Tunjung’s superior strokeplay as she lagged 1-6 in the second game. The one-way traffic continued as the Indonesian looked in sensational form with her smooth defensive skills.
Another wristy play at the net helped Tunjung to enter the break with a huge 11-3 lead.
The Indonesian resumed with another excellent winner.
Tunjung peppered Sindhu with some jaw-dropping angled returns to march to 16-4 in a flash before moving to 19-6.
The young Indonesian grabbed 12 championships point and sealed it in style when Sindhu committed another net error to record her maiden world tour title.
(ToI With PTI Inputs)