PV Sindhu fell narrowly short in the summit clash of the BWF Super Series Finals in a marathon contest against Akane Yamaguchi that went all the way and tested both players on nerves, physically and mentally. In the contest that went both ways, Yamaguchi emerged victorious by 15-21, 21-12, 21-19 in a final that was played over 94 minutes. In the process, Sindhu became the second Indian female shuttler to finish with a silver medal in the season-ending tournament. In 2011, Saina Nehwal went down to Wang Yihan.

The match shifted both ways in the decisive third game that was played over a course of 43 minutes – longer than the mixed doubles final that preceded it. Both players traded blows in an equal game with Sindhu and Yamaguchi remaining head-to-head throughout the third game amid numerous lengthy rallies.

One such point was when Yamaguchi erred in picking up a Sindhu shot that looked to be going out but as the point continued, both players stretched other all over the other before Sindhu’s drop shot proved far too good for the Japanese player to retrieve. A few points later, Sindhu displayed exemplary defensive skills to pick up a smash after another from the 20-year-old’s racket before closing the point out with a drop that brought Yamaguchi down on the court. Despite such quality on offer, Sindhu couldn’t survive and add a gold medal to her cabinet with two errors helping Yamaguchi to the yellow metal.

The third game was in sharp contrast to the first two where it was one-sided traffic for the most part. In the first game, Sindhu found her space and agility to give no chance to Yamaguchi who looked to be headed towards a similar outcome as their group stage match. Sindhu had started brightly before Yamaguchi turned things around but the Indian shuttler returned to win seven of eight next points. This allowed her to take a considerable lead which she held on to seal the first game.

In the second, Yamaguchi found her game and touch to move Sindhu all around the court. Sindhu’s game showed instances of fatigue and her shots looked laboured in comparison to the first game. Signs of exerting too much through the group stages and then the semi-final started to show and it allowed for the Japanese girl to race off with the game and force a decider.

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