Zhang Beiwen of USA defeats Indian shuttler PV Sindhu to win India Open

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Congratulations to Zhang Beiwen for winning the 2018 India Open. (photo: AP)
Congratulations to Zhang Beiwen for winning the 2018 India Open. (photo: AP)

New Delhi: The No. 5 seed Zhang Beiwen of USA came recovered from a disappointing second set to beat No. 1 seed PV Sindhu of India 21-18, 11-21, 22-20 to win her first ever Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 500 title which was also equivalent to the Superseries level title.

Zhang, 27, looked on course for her first BWF World Tour Super 500 title, sizzled at the start by winning the seesaw first set 21-18. However, Zhang struggled with Sindhu’s strong smashes to lose the second set 11-21.

In the down-to-the-wire decider where the crowd was clearly pulling for Sindhu, Zhang raced to a 9-4 lead. But in allowing Sindhu to find her way into the third set, the match veered in a different and displeasing direction for Zhang. Despite running all over the court to defense Sindhu’s attacks, Zhang was pushed to the brink and beyond in the tense, exhausting match where defending champion Sindhu came from 17-19 to re-take the lead at 20-19.

However, Zhang showed tremendous composure despite being under pressure and managed to tie the score at 20-20, and went on to win the next two critical points to clinch the final game 22-20.

“I played like I had nothing to lose. On the other hand, I think Sindhu was under more pressure as she lost control of some of her shots,” said Zhang who was born in Liaoning China but is now playing under the USA flag.

“I was aggressive with more smashes which was not my regular playing style. This is the best moment of my career and I am really excited for winning my first major title,” added Zhang.

Zhang took home the prize money of $26,250 after her win, while Sindhu received $13,300.

In women’s doubles, Greysia Polii/Apriani Rahayu of Indonesia ruled in the final by defeating Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai 21-18, 21-15 in 58 minutes.

Meanwhile, Denmark’s No. 5 seeds mixed doubles pair Mathias Christiansen/Christinna Pedersen won the India Open with a 21-14, 21-15 win over Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia.

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