DUBAI: Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu made a winning start to her maiden campaign at the prestigious BWF World Super Series Final, defeating higher-ranked Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in an entertaining opening women's singles Group B match on Wednesday.
Sindhu, who recently clinched the China Super Series Premier and reached the finals at Hong Kong Open, eked out a 12-21, 21-8, 21-15 win over World No. 8 Yamaguchi in an exciting clash which lasted little over an hour.
In the opening game, Sindhu conceded a 3-6 lead early on as she faltered with her strokes even as Yamaguchi grabbed points with her deception and riding on her rival's mistakes to go 11-5 up at the break.
World No. 10 Sindhu looked slightly impatient and it affected her performance as Yamaguchi took a 14-7 lead.
An accurate down-the-line smash by Sindhu, a mistake on the net and a baseline judgement error by the Japanese helped the Indian grab four points. Sindhu then won a video challenge to narrow Yamaguchi's lead to 14-11.
Sindhu again committed a couple of unforced errors and then was left stranded by a cross court return from the Japanese, who led 17-12.
Sindhu was visibly frustrated as she faltered at the net and then struggled with a low return as Yamaguchi raced to 20-12. The Japanese then sealed the opening game after winning a long rally when Sindhu netted with a low return.
The sting was back in Sindhu's strokes in the second game as she took an early 4-0 lead. Yamaguchi narrowed it down to 4-6 and eventually drew parity at 7-7.
However, Sindhu continued to nose ahead and entered the interval at 11-7 with a round-the-head smash which the Japanese could not put away.
Sindhu's low cross-court return near the net at 14-7 even brought a smile and accolades from her mentor and chief coach Pullela Gopichand.
The Indian next came up with a cross court smash on Yamaguchi's backhand and then played a deceptive stroke to gather two more points. She eventually grabbed 13 game point opportunity when Yamaguchi hit wide. The Japanese saved one before hitting the net to allow Sindhu make a comeback.