Less than a month after meeting in the gold medal match of BWF World Championships 2017, which is being regarded as one of the most exhilarating encounters in the history of the sport, PV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara will feature in the Women's singles final of Korea Open on Sunday, September 17.
"Both physically and mentally this was a tough match, with those long tosses and drops. I finally realised she [Okuhara] is never gonna leave," Sindhu said after losing 19-21, 22-20, 20-22 in the final that was played for an hour and 50 minutes in Glasgow.
Sindhu was on top of her game; she pushed herself to the limits. She covered every inch of the court to retrieve Okuhara's deceptive drops and pushes. However, it was not enough as the gritty Japanese shuttler held her nerves and created history.
The memories of the epic encounter will still remain fresh in the minds of badminton fans, but the two shuttlers are ready to put behind the past and focus on the game in hand -- a Superseries final in Korea.
Tired Sindhu starts as underdog
World number five Sindhu will know that lower-ranked Okuhara will have the mental edge going into the big match. Notably, the Japanese shuttler has a 4-3 head-to-head advantage over her opponent.
However, Sindhu is known for her ability to step up in pressure situations. A lot will depend on how the Indian shuttler will hold up on Sunday, especially after playing two long matches -- in the quarter-final and semi-final -- of the ongoing tournament.
Sindhu looked tired for a brief period in both the encounters, but she played with a steely resolve to fend off the threats.
She needed an hour and three minutes on Friday, September 15 to edge past Japan's Minatsu Mitani 21-19, 16-21, 21-10. The fifth seed was tested by China's He Bingjiao in the semi-final on Saturday, September 16. However, she held her composure to win the match in an hour and six minutes.
World champion Okuhara in top form
On the other hand, Okuhara has been in dominant form in the ongoing tournament. The eight seed needed only 38 minutes to decimate second seed Akane Yamaguchi 21-17, 21-18 in Saturday's semi-final. Notably, she has not dropped a game yet in the ongoing tournament, thereby spending lesser time on court than her Sunday's opponent.
If the World Championships final is anything to go by, badminton fans can expect another cracker on Sunday. Fasten your seat belts, folks.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The Women's singles final between Sindhu and Okuhara is the fourth match of the day. It is expected to start at 2pm local time, 10:30am IST.
India: TV: Star Sports 2. Live streaming: Hotstar
Malaysia: TV: Astro Supersport. Live streaming: Astro Go
Singapore: TV: Star Hub. Live streaming: Starhub Go
China: TV: CCTV 5+
Worldwide live streaming: BWF YouTube channel [Not available in India]
Live scores for all matches can be followed on BWF's official website.