Japan Open: Sindhu loses to Okuhara

New Delhi: Nozomi Okuhara beat Sindhu in Japan Open today and now it has become interesting rivalry between PV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara, who have earlier met twice on the court having won 1-1 each, Okuhara beat Sindhu for the first time when they met in World Championships final in Glasgow but the Sindhu levelled it when she beat Okuhara in the recent Korea Super Series final on Sunday but now Okuhara has again beat Sindhu taking the lead 2-1  in their personal rivalry. Going by the match Sindhu led 6-2 early on but Okuhara closed the gap to 8-9 before Sindhu's straight return bamboozled the Japanese. The Indian failed to negotiate a cross-court return from Okuhara, who miscued a stroke to the net to give a 11-9 advantage to the Indian at the break.

Okuhara quickly erased the deficit and grabbed a 12-11 lead after winning a long rally with a deceptive return. The Japanese continued to dominate as she unleashed a body smash and then won a video referral to move to 15-11. Sindhu broke the run of play with a cleverly set-up point where she used a cross court flick followed by a push at the back court. The Indian used the wristy flick at the net to narrow the margin to 14-15 and then clawed back when the local favourite hit long. A whipping smash and then aided by Okuhara's two returns going to the net saw Sindhu led 18-16. But the Indian failed to make use of the advantage as Okuhara reeled off four straight points, the final stroke an on-rushing over-the-head smash to earn the bragging rights.

After another self-talk, Okuhara once again started her duel with the Indian, opening up a 3-0 lead, which she extended to 9-3.

Sindhu failed to reign in her errors, allowing Okuhara to move ahead. The Japanese eventually led 11-4 after producing a smash.

Frustration was writ large on her face as Sindhu found the net after the interval. The Indian continued to find the going tough as Okuhara led 16-5 before Sindhu again found the net. Sindhu continued to falter with her strokes and the result was Okuhara led 19-7. With another return getting buried at the net, it was 12 match-point advantage for Okuhara, who sealed it quite easily.  

With PTI Inputs