Jakarta: Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying is World No. 1 for a reason and she proved that by clinching the women’s badminton singles at the 18th Asian Games taming India’s P.V. Sindhu with least of effort in straight games 21-13, 21-16 here on Tuesday.
When two of India’s top-notch players Saina Nehwal and Sindhu were dispatched in a similar fashion in two successive days, then there is all the more reason to believe that the diminutive player is simply phenomenal.
The gold medal clash was always heading in one direction from the start — in favour of Tai. She took an early 5-0 lead and that was enough to put Sindhu off track and from there on she just couldn’t recover.
Tai is not just steadfast, her retrieving capability is magical. At the net she always has plenty of time and options to retrieve even those shuttles that are just about to fall dead.
The second set was no different to that of the first — plagued with errors, rarely did Sindhu manage to engage Tai in any serious rallies. The contest was over in 36 minutes.
It was the 10th loss for Sindhu in the 13 appearances against Tai and her last success coming way back in the quarter-finals of the Rio Olympics.
So, how does Tai rate her performance and of her opponents? “Well, having played her before I would say Sindhu didn’t play that well today. The contest went the way I planned and it wasn’t tough,” said Tai. “There is nothing to celebrate as it is just routine. I will be going back and starting my training for the next championship almost immediately.”
Sindhu, acknowledging that the opponent was too good on the day said: “Giving some easy points hurt her chances in the end. If I would have played more patiently and kept the shuttle in the court. It would have been different. She is World No 1 so she is definitely going to do well. She was taking everything and her defence is also very good.
“Sometime you have to take that as Tai was taking easy points. I wouldn’t say there is a huge gap between us and her. May it is few points that we have to be prepared and be ready. Definitely we will break that. I know it won’t be easy but if we work hard then definitely we can do that.”
Coach Pullela Gopichand also accepted that his ward was hardly in the match and felt perhaps long rallies could have made things different.
“I think Tai played well and kept it simple,” he said. “There were only a few rallies where Sindhu looked she could make a comeback and that came too late in the match. “Had she got that rhythm and energy a little bit earlier then it would have been a different match. We don’t know how Tai could have reacted to that though but overall Tai had been very good today.”