India's top-ranked women's singles shuttler PV Sindhu conceded she was disappointed over missing an opportunity to reach her maiden All England Open Badminton Championships final Saturday, March 17.
The fourth seed, who seemed bone-tired after her 21-19, 19-21, 18-21 defeat to second seed Akane Yamaguchi in the 80-minute long semi-final, insisted it was not her day in Birmingham.
Sindhu and Yamaguchi enthralled fans at the Birmingham Arena, which was packed to the rafters, with high-quality and pulsating badminton in the second women's singles semi-final of the day.
The Indian shuttler started her first-ever All England Open semi-final on a high when she raced to a six-point lead within the first few minutes. She was dominating the early part of the first game as she went into the mid-game interval at 11-5.
However, Yamaguchi fought back after being 17-10 down to make it 17-17. Nonetheless, Sindhu negated the Japanese shuttler's late surge to win the first game with her second game point.
Trailing the world no. 2 19-15 in the second game, Sindhu gave it her all to close out the match in straight games, but her pint-sized opponent held her nerves to force a decider.
Sindhu, it seemed, was cruising towards her maiden All England Open final when she was leading 13-7 in the third game but Yamaguchi swung the momentum back in her favor by deceiving the Indian shuttler with a stunning drop shot to cap off a marathon rally.
Not my day: Sindhu
"We were on equal footing today. It was not my day today. I do not regret anything but, yes, there is that sad part I could not reach the final," Sindhu was quoted as saying by ESPN on Saturday.
"Each point really mattered for both us. I could have taken two points when I was in the lead towards the end in the final game."
"You have to come back stronger" ?— Yonex All England (@YonexAllEngland) March 17, 2018
It wasn't to be her year, but @Pvsindhu1 has produced some absolutely incredible badminton this week at the YONEX All England, and has always been gracious to her opponents, both in victory and defeat. ???#YAE18 pic.twitter.com/deYVOtHxyv
Sindhu though took positives from the tough loss on Saturday and vowed to come back stronger.
"Yes, I have learned a lot of things from this year's tournament. It was a good tournament. You keep winning and losing but I think I will have to come back stronger," Sindhu said.
Fatigue affects Sindhu's game
The Rio Olympic silver medalist had headed into the semi-final after having spent 79 minutes on the court more than Yamaguchi. The Japanese shuttler slowed the match down towards the end of the third game and controlled the rallies against Sindhu, who was visibly affected by fatigue.
Sindhu paid the price for not managing a straight-game win in her first two rounds against lower-ranked Thailand shuttlers Pornpawee Chochuwong and Nitchaon Jindapol.
The Hyderabad shuttler was stretched to her limits Friday in the quarter-final clash against arch-rival and reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara. She had managed to beat the Japanese shuttler 20-22, 21-18, 21-18 in an 84-minute nervy encounter.