Copenhagen witnessed a stunning upset as former champion PV Sindhu, known for her prowess on the badminton court, faced a shocking defeat in the World Championships. Woefully out of form, the two-time Olympic medallist failed to advance to the quarter-finals, suffering a straight-games loss to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara.
For Sindhu, this was not just any defeat – it marked her first-ever failure to reach the quarter-finals of the World Championships, an event where she had clinched medals five times in her previous seven appearances. Despite her impressive track record, the 28-year-old Indian shuttler bowed out in Round 2, continuing a season filled with disappointments.
The match against Nozomi Okuhara turned out to be a painful encounter for Sindhu. The Indian player managed to hold on to a promising 9-0 lead in the second game, a significant advantage in regular circumstances. However, this lead proved insufficient as she succumbed to the pressure, allowing Okuhara to capitalize on her vulnerabilities and secure a 14-21, 14-21 victory.
Sindhu’s performance, especially in the second game, raised concerns about her form and strategy. Throughout the match’s duration of 44 minutes, she struggled to play her natural attacking game. Instead of seizing the initiative, she adopted a reactive approach, allowing Okuhara to dictate the tempo of the game.
Okuhara, the former world No.1 from Japan, made skillful use of high toss serves and accurate cross-court drops. These tactics exposed Sindhu’s vulnerabilities, enabling Okuhara to stage a remarkable comeback in the second game. Despite Sindhu’s initial lead, Okuhara managed to regain control, capitalize on errors, and ultimately secure victory in 24 minutes.
The loss between the two former world champions unfolded as an underwhelming display for Sindhu. The rivalry between the two athletes, dating back to their junior days, is marked by six finals, including two at the World Championships. Following this match, their head-to-head record now stands at 9-9.
Both Sindhu and Okuhara have faced struggles with form and injuries in recent times. Although Okuhara’s comeback is more recent than Sindhu’s, her superior performance on the court showcased her ability to control the shuttle and adapt to the conditions effectively.
For Sindhu, this unexpected exit serves as a reminder of the challenges and unpredictability of competitive sports. As the badminton community reflects on this surprising outcome, fans hope for a resurgence from the talented Indian player in the future.