WORLDS 2013 R16 – Defending champ beaten by rising star

Wang Yihan was ousted by 18-year-old Indian Pusarla Venkata Sindhu in two, incredible games on Thursday at the Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships in Guangzhou. By Renee Yang, […]

Wang Yihan was ousted by 18-year-old Indian Pusarla Venkata Sindhu in two, incredible games on Thursday at the Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships in Guangzhou.

By Renee Yang, Badzine Correspondent live in Guangzhou.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Despite the overwhelming support from the Chinese crowd here in Guangzhou, defending champion and No.  2 seed Wang Yihan was beaten in the third round by rising star P.  V.  Sindhu in straight games!

The two players had met once previously, during this year’s Sudirman Cup when Wang beat the Indian in 3 games.  This time, the Indian girl had obviously prepared very well for this match.  In the first game, she kept forcing Wang to move from her backhand baseline to the net with deep lifts and clears and accurate drops.  Once Wang was out of position, Sindhu immediately attacked Wang’s forehand area with full strikes.

Wang could not find any solution to Sindhu’s tactics.  She once tried changing pace and attacking Sindhu’s backhand baseline and leveled the scores, but soon Sindhu could caught up with her pace and fought back.  Wang had to pay more attention on placement and net play, which also cost her many errors.  She soon lost the first game 18-21.

In the second game, Wang still could not find any solution to Sindhu’s attack, and even worse, she faced stamina problems in the middle of the game.  When Sindhu played one drop shot very close to the net, Wang failed to reach the shuttle and lost her balance, she was exhausted and lay down on the mat for a while.  Sindhu led all the way in the game and held three match points at 20-17.

The spectators, meanwhile, were all shouting ”Jiayou” to the Chinese star, even from the stands at the opposite end of the gymnasium and hoped she would be able to persevere.  Wang struggled to fight back and levelled the score, then even got game point at 21-20, but soon she made mistakes and wasted her last attempt.  Sindhu finally took the game 23-21.  The Indian youngster hugged her coach excitedly when she got the last point.

“This the second time I’ve played her,” said Sindhu after her victory.  “The first time I lost and now the second time, I have beaten her in straight sets.  At 22-21, it was a very big rally and both of us were really tired, but I won so I’m very, very happy.

“The main factors were the long rallies and I think my drops were really good today.

“My coach Pullela Gopichand was an All England champion and Saina, Kashyap and I are all training under him and I am very thankful to him.  It’s because of him that we are all here today.

“Of course, China still has the top players but I think that Saina and me, we are already able to beat the Chinese players.  I think that Kashyap and Ajay Jayaram will also be doing better in the coming months.  I’m really very happy.  Last year, I won against Li Xuerui and then I won against Wang Shixian and now I have beaten Wang Yihan.

“I don’t think it’s just the tall players who are strong, although there are a lot of good tall players, too.  I think everyone is equal and whichever player can give 100% on the court is the winner.

“This is my first time in the and I am already in the quarters.  First, I would win against Wang Shixian and then, we’ll see.”

During her post-match interview, Wang praised her opponent: “I played with her in this year’s Sudirman Cup events and she forced me to a rubber game.  She performed very well today while I did not perform badly – I had a chance to win – but I just could not come through at crucial points and let chances slip away.

“Generally she had speed, height and reach so she was able to cover the whole court quickly.  Sometimes I thought I had already forced her to a defensive situation, but she was always able to hit the shuttle back.

“The Indian women’s single players are quite young and on the rise.  They are in a position to challenge us, just like several years back when I was young, I also challenged the experienced players from other countries.  These youngsters from Indian, Thailand and Japan gained experience from national events by playing with experienced players and have progressed day by day.  So I think it’s normal for me to lose to her.

“Yes, I had some stamina problems today.  Yesterday’s opponent was not a top player.  I took the match easily so I didn’t really activate the whole potential and mood of my body, but today the pace of the match was fast, so I felt a lack of stamina to some extent.

Wang did not seem so disappointed about the result and kept smiling all the way, saying, “I have found that every time I have played in [the World Championship], the second match has always been tough for me.  There must be a winner and loser in a match.  It’s quite normal.”

Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Indian hopeful has created her own history by beating three top Chinese players within one year and it leaves one wondering: what we can expect from her afterwards?  Is she indeed the dark horse for the title?

Click here for complete Round of 16 results

About Ying Yang