Sindhu fails to shrug off the Japanese jinx in marathon finals
(*Credit image: AFP Photo)
Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei and India's P.V. Sindhu lacked the sustaining power against Denmark's Viktor Axelsen and Japan's Akane Yamaguchi in the singles final in this year's BWF Dubai Superseries Finals which ended in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
Four-time champion Chong Wei was chasing his fifth title in the Superseries Finals after having won in Kota Kinabalu in 2008, in Johor Bahru (2009), in Taipei (2009) and in Kuala Lumpur (2013).
Still, the 35-year-old former world number one, gave an encouraging performance against the lanky Dane, who is the reigning world champion and current world number one.
Chong Wei has given strong signals that he is here to stay and challenge the best in the elite badminton tour.
Viktor retained his title with a 19-21, 21-19, 21-15 win and pocketed a cool USD80,000 in prize money.
Chong Wei settled for USD40,000 for his efforts.
For Sindhu it was a painful to lose another marathon "major final" to another Japanese but has taken the defeat in her stride although she tried her best to hide her disappointment of falling at the final hurdle.
In the World Championships in Glasgow in August the lanky Indian, ranked number two, played one of the longest finals seen in the shuttle sport when she battled for 110 minutes before bowing out to Nozomi Okuhara.
At the Hamdan Sport Complex in Dubai it was another marathon and again she was on the losing end.
This time the final lasted lasted a good 94 minutes and Yamaguchi walked away with a 15-21, 21-12, 21-19 win to ensure that the title remained with Japan after Okuhara's win last year.
What hurt Sindhu most was that she had beaten Yamaguchi easily in straight games (21-9, 21-13) in a Group A match.
"It hurts to lose another marathon final.
However, overall, it has been a good year for me and it has given me the confidence to comeback stronger next year," said the 22-year-old Sindhu.
For Indonesia's world number one Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo it was another piece of badminton history in the men's doubles.
The Indonesians outclassed China's Liu Cheng- Zhang Nan 21-16, 21-15 for their seventh superseries title this year in nine finals.
In the all-Japan women's doubles final Shiho Tanaka-Koharu Yonemoto upstaged compatriots Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota 21-16, 21-15 in 49 minutes to give their country their second title in Dubai.
Defending champions Zheng Siwei-Chen Qingchen of China retained their mixed doubles title with a hard fought 21-15, 22-20 win over Hong Kong's gritty Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet.
In the semifinals played on Saturday defending women's singles champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei was shown the exit.
Tzu Yingshe could only finish third in Group B behind Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon and China's Chen Yufei after all three ended up with two wins and one defeat in the round robin format and the placings were decided on the difference in games won and lost.
Intanon topped the group with a 5-2 tally followed by Chen Yufei (5-3) while Tzu Ying's tally was 4-3.
Viktor Axelsen (DEN) beat Lee Chong Wei (MAS) 19-21, 21-19, 21-15
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) beat Liu Cheng-Zhang Nan (CHN) 21-16, 21-15
Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) beat P.V. Sindhu (IND) 15-21, 21-12, 21-19
Shiho Tanaka-Koharu Yonemoto (JPN) beat Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (JPN) 21-16, 21-15
Zheng Siwei-Chen Qingchen (CHN) beat Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (HKG) 21-15, 22-20