The former Olympic silver medallist has had a disappointing year so far, in terms of match results.
After an agonizing wait due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Badminton circuit resumed in February this year. The resumption pulled up hopes of Indian shuttlers to work towards securing an Olympic berth by performing their best at the remaining qualification tournaments. All the Indian fans were excited to see the comeback of Indian shuttlers like Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap, and especially PV Sindhu who returned from a training stint in London. She was expected to make a strong comeback post her training at Gatorade Sports Science Institute which was focused on her nutrition and recovery.
However, in the tournaments so far, Sindhu’s personal best was reaching the finals of the Swiss Open where she suffered a straight-game loss to Carolina Marin.
Sindhu who is known for her thundering smashes, precision, and long rallies failed to encompass all these attributes in her tournaments so far this season. Moreover, in most of the matches, she was unable to control the pace of the rallies mixed up with a series of unforced errors costing her a significant loss in the matches so far.
Sindhu began the 2021 circuit with a first-round loss at the Thailand Open round loss against a lower-ranked Mia Blichfeldt. The loss came as a shocker to the Olympic silver medallist who won the first game 21-16 but lost the next two games 26-24 and 21-13.
Later, in the Toyota Thailand Open, Sindhu reached the quarterfinals but a series of unforced errors led to a defeat against Ratchanok Intanon.
Sindhu was the only Indian to qualify for the World Tour Finals. Her first round against world no. 1 Tai Tzu Ying was a close encounter to which she lost after a fierce three-game battle 21-19, 12-21, 17-21. In the second round, she suffered her second consecutive defeat to Ratchanok Intanon.
At the very next Swiss Open, PV Sindhu came back stronger by reaching the finals of the event. Playing her first final in 18 months, Sindhu entered the match with a 5-8 head-to-head record against Marin. Sindhu reached the finals without dropping a single game in all four matches before the finals.
However, she failed to maintain this winning streak in the finals as Carolina Marin stole the title from Sindhu 21-12, 21-5 in just 35 minutes. Sindhu was completely outraged by Marin who outclassed her with her pace, power, and precision. Again, a series of unforced errors cost Sindhu a couple of points in the match. Moreover, it became difficult for Sindhu to control the pace of the match ending the final as a one-sided affair.
Following a thundering defeat at the Swiss Open, Sindhu entered the All-England Championships with a lot of hope. However, her dream to win the coveted title ended when she lost to Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-16, 21-9 in the semi-finals. Sindhu looked a little slow off the blocks after a terrific 76-minute marathon in the quarterfinals against Akane Yamaguchi.
While talking to Times of India, India badminton coach, Vimal Kumar stated, “I feel the best (Olympic) medal prospect is Sindhu, she can and there is still time. She showed some glimpses against Akane Yamaguchi (at All England quarters). But she needs to give more attention to recovery to be ready for the next match because there will not be 24 hours to recover.”
Notably, PV Sindhu is ranked no.7 in the Race to Tokyo Ranking list and is one of the best Olympic prospects for Indian Badminton. Hopefully, with a good recovery period this month, Sindhu will flag off with brighter colors in the upcoming tournaments.