Will she be third time lucky? PV Sindhu would make her third appearance in the BWF World Championship final on Sunday, August 25 at St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland. Standing between her and the world title would be the same lady whom she faced in the 2017 World Championship final – Nozomi Okuhara.
This is the fourth straight year in which Sindhu has reached the final of the biggest badminton event of the year. In 2016, she lost the Olympic final to Carolina Marin. The Spaniard defeated her again in the 2018 World Championship final. Will Sindhu be able to break the finals jinx this time?
Sindhu knows her opponent well. The match they had in the 2017 final was one of the greatest of all time and lasted for nearly two hours. Okuhara is known for her perseverance and stamina. She is capable of playing long rallies and covering a large part of the court. Her retrieving skills have made her special.
However, the Japanese girl doesn't only have those qualities. She also has some good winners in her arsenal which she can unleash when required. She plays good lobs, drop shots and is quite efficient in her net play. The trouble for her would be that she played a gruelling semi-final against Ratchanok Intanon while her opponent coasted through an easy match against Chen Yufei.
But the semis also showed the fitness of Okuhara. While her opponent Ratchanok looked spent and exhausted by the end of the match, she continued to play with intensity. Just like she did in the 2017 final, she will test Sindhu's stamina to the hilt.
The Indian shuttler, on the other hand, has been in terrific form. After going through a lean patch earlier in the year, she has regained her composure and tenacity. The victory over Tai Tzu Ying in the quarter-final was a magnificent performance. The 24-year old fought back after having lost the first game and kept battling hard against Tai's wizardry until sealing the victory.
But Pusarala can expect an even tougher contest. While the challenge against Tai was dealing with her masterful winners, against Nozomi, she would have to remain patient and stay competitive in long rallies. She would have the whole of India supporting her.
Schedule and live telecast
The action on the final's day would begin at 12 PM local time and 3:30 PM IST. Sindhu's match is second on the list of games to be played and will take place after the women's doubles final. Hence, her match can be expected to begin around 4:30-5 PM.
The live telecast of the match would be on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD, as far as television is concerned. The online platform for live coverage would be Hotstar.