Carolina Marin of Spain will be up against India's PV Sindhu in the Rio 2016 badminton gold medal decider match on Friday at the RioCentro Pavilion 4. The occasion is special in many ways as not only this match will give India a sure silver or gold in a singles badminton event for the first time but it will also be the first time that a woman shuttler from the country will achieve the greatness in Olympics.
Sindhu registered a dominating straight-sets victory over Nozomi Okuhara of Japan on Thursday and by the looks of it, the lanky 21-year-old Hyderabadi girl is on course of clinching the gold. The Indian shuttler cheered every single point she picked up in the second set and that went on to show the passion with which she has been playing.
Sindhu has completely bossed the women's singles badminton event after the shocking exit of Saina Nehwal. Marin, too, has been on a similar course. The cute-faced numero uno women's badminton player in the world, as per the Badminton World Federation (BWF), will be a tough nut to crack.
Saina has encountered Marin numerous times in her career so far and the Indian does have a 4-3 edge in the head to head record. Sindhu has also faced the Spaniard on six occasions but the Indian trails 2-4 in the head to head record.
Marin is no doubt a known face among the Indian badminton fans and those who have followed her matches closely will know that the shuttler has tremendous tenacity to win big matches. The 23-year-old Marin defeated Li Xuerui of China, the defending Olympic champion, with 21-14, 21-16 results. It was four years back in 2012 London Olympics, ironically, that Marin was beaten in the first round by Li.
Nevertheless, Marin, who is being referred to fondly as the "Rafael Nadal of badminton" owing to her style of play, became the women's badminton singles champion in 2014 and 2015 and has gone on to become one of the most dominant forces in recent years in the European badminton circuit.
Carolina Marin: Strengths - Nimble feet, powerful smash, cross court shots, proper balance between aggression and staying cool under pressure.
Can Sindhu match up to her - The Indian shuttler has to first and foremost make sure to stay patient and not allow Marin to pick a bulk of points at a stretch. The Spaniard has a knack of picking up quick points -- one after another -- and build momentum steadily. Sindhu has to be aware of this and try and frustrate Marin with going toe-to-toe with the rallies.