India’s campaign at the Badminton Asia Championships came to an end after P.V. Sindhu lost her women’s singles quarterfinal match against Eriko Hirose of Japan in a hard-fought contest in Taipei on Friday.
The unseeded Indian gave a tough challenge to her seventh seeded Japanese opponent before going down 19-21 21-16 11-21 in a battle that lasted exactly an hour.
Sindhu, who had beaten former World No.1 Shixian Wang in a third round match on Thursday, seemed to be in top form in the first two games before going down tamely in the third game.
The 17-year-old Hyderabadi gave the world no. 12 a run for her money in the opening game. It was a neck-and-neck battle till 10-10 with neither player letting the other win more than a point at a stretch.
But Eriko managed to surge ahead with four consecutive points to make it 14-10. The advantage was, however, cut short by Sindhu as she quickly won four straight points, to make it even once again at 14-14.
Leading 17-16, Eriko got the momentum and won three points on the trot to reach the game point.
Although Sindhu could save three of those and reduce the gap to 19-20 but she fumbled to save one more point and conceded the game.
In the second game, the Japanese girl opened up with a 8-4 lead and continued to move ahead before world No. 16 Indian levelled at 14-14.
Thereafter, it was no looking back for Sindhu as she claimed five consecutive points to take a 19-14 lead and eventually bag the game comfortably.
In the third and deciding game, Sindhu started off well and looked set for another tough fight with the game evenly poised at 5-5.
But the Indian girl simply ran out of steam. While Eriko kept on increasing the lead, Sindhu fell far behind and could win only six more points to lose it 11-21 in the end.
Sindhu will now get ready to play in the upcoming India Open Super Series badminton, commencing on April 23 in New Delhi.