Zhang beats home favourite Sindhu in BWF India Open women's singles final

PV Sindhu remains on track to win the women's title

The defending champion and top seed lost 18-21, 21-11, 20-22 in an hour and nine minutes to give Beiwen her "career's best moment" at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here. Not surprisingly, a disappointed Sindhu stayed away from the post-match press-conference. In fact, Saina Nehwal too had left media awaiting after losing the quarterfinals on Friday. Prior to Sunday's loss, Sindhu had won twice and lost once at the Indonesia Super Series Premier previous year against the American.

Sindhu, however, led 11-4 at the mid-game break.

However, the sluggish movements returned in the decider after the first few exchanges and Zhang made the most of two lucky net chords to clinch six straight points and take a 9-4 lead.

Meanwhile, ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal will also aim to seal a semi-final spot when she square off with fifth-seed Beiwen Zhang of United States of America in another quarter-final clash later today.

But to the crowd's agony, the local favourite hit it on the net to make it 20-20. The duo moved neck and neck till 15-15. █ Sindhu was under pressure of expectations in front of the Indian crowd, while I had nothing to lose. Among others, top seeded Indonesian Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo shut out the fighting Indian men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy 21-19 21-19, while sixth seeded women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 17-21 21-23 to Chinese pair of Du Yue and Li Yinhui. However, Intanon, had given her a tough fight in the beginning of the game, leading Sindhu 4-2 in head-to-head contest, before there was a tie.

In a closely fought Final, Sindhu managed a mini comeback after trailing 17-19 at one point in the 3rd game.

Sindhu was the third Hyderabad shuttler to be beaten by Zhang in the tournament.

With Sindhu also sending a forehand return wide, Zhang opened up a two point lead at 18-16.

Back to the winning side of the court, Sindhu once again showed class as she zoomed to a 11-6 advantage at the lemon break. It may be recalled that 15-year-old Jakka Vaishnavi Reddy had stretched the eventual champion to three games before bowing out 19-21, 22-20, 12-21 in the first round. Then with a smash, Zhang got the match point.

Sindhu then hit the shuttle out as Zhang celebrated. "I played a lot of smashes and an attacking game which I generally don't", she said. Some part of my defence I am not happy with.

Beiwen Zhang, who is without a coach in this event, has been at her best in the tournament so far.

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