Indian star shuttler and Rio Olympics silver-medallist P V Sindhu couldn’t make it to the finals of the BWF Super Series Masters as she lost against Korean Sung ji Hyun in the semifinal match in Dubai.
Olympic 2016 silver medallist Sindhu lost 15-21, 21-18, 15-21 as she was topped by 2014 Asian champion Sung, who looked clearly the better shuttler on the day.
Following the win, the South Korean improved her head-to-head record against Sindhu to 4-6.
World No.5 Sung will meet world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the final. Tai moved past Sun Yu of China 21-19, 21-19 in the other semi-final in 50 minutes.
The final presents an opportunity for Sung to avenge the 2014 Superseries Finals' summit clash loss to Tai, who then had prevailed in straight games at this same venue.
Sindhu, who was playing in her maiden Superseries Finals, the season-ending meet, looked off-colour on the day. Even though she refused to give up and fought hard for each point, she committed a lot of unforced errors.
Her strokes had the power but not accuracy and due to this she largely suffered at critical junctures. Early in the first game, Sindhu was trailing 2-4 but she equalised only to let a couple of shots go wide, resulting in a three-point lead for Sung at 7-4.
Afterwards, Sung kept the 22-year-old Indian off balance, never allowing her to equalise. But the Indian remained in contention till it was 14-15 in favour of the South Korean.
Sung then produced a barrage of delectable cross-court half smashes to rattle four consecutive points to walk away with the first game 21-15.
In the second game, Sindhu fought back and held a 9-6 lead at a point of time. But Sung managed to claw her way back into the game. And afterwards, it was a close contest until the 18-point mark when Sindhu managed to hold her own to clinch the second game 21-18.
In the deciding game, Sung, a fast mover within the court compared to Sindhu, played her best game. The 25-year-old South Korean raced away to a 4-0 lead that quickly became 8-3. And till the mid-game break and change of ends, it was 11-6 in favour of Sung.
Sindhu, who looked a bit tired, failed to put up a fight like she did in the second game, which really took its toll on her. Sung snatched points one after another and a 16-10 lead meant the writing was on the wall for Sindhu, who then surrendered the game 15-21.
Meanwhile, the men's singles final will be fought between China's Tian Houwei and Denmark's Viktor Axelsen. While Houwei got the better of Denmark's Jan 'O' Jorgensen 21-17, 19-21, 21-13 in an hour and two minutes, Axelsen topped Wan Ho Son of South Korea 21-17, 21-19 in 55 minutes.
China's Chen Qing and Jia Yifan and Olympic gold medal winners Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi from Japan won the women's doubles semi-finals, reports Xinhua.
In the tournament's first semi-final taking place Saturday, Danish duo Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who were last year's runners up, lost 12-21, 11-21 against an almost perfectly harmonising duo of Matsutomo and Takahashi.
"It was a tough match," said Juhl. Pedersen paid tribute to their opponents, saying, "Misaki and Ayaka played really well, not only today, but throughout the tournament so far."
China's Chen and Jia defeated South Koreans Chang and Lee 23-21, 22-20 after a fifty eight minute contest.
Chang, 27, of South Korea said she suffered from some pain in her right thigh which weighed on her performance.
(With inputs from IANS)