INDIA OPEN Finals – Sindhu super at home!

India’s Pusarla Venkata Sindhu continues her 2017 march into April, winning her home Superseries event, with a reversal of her last final against Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin. By Don […]

India’s Pusarla Venkata Sindhu continues her 2017 march into April, winning her home event, with a reversal of her last final against Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Mikael Ropars / Badmintonphoto (live)

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured) had already won a Superseries Premier event but on Sunday in Delhi, she added the badminton calendar’ biggest title on home soil to her list of achievements.  After winning the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold earlier this year, Sindhu took the Superseries title.

It was anything but easy.  She needed all her talent and all the support from the home crowd.  In the earlier rounds it was challenging enough, as she had to take down former world #1 Saina Nehwal and then recent world #2 Sung Ji Hyun.

In the final, she was up against none other than Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin.  Marin not only had a winning record against Sindhu, but she had beaten the tall Indian both times the two had met in India, including at the Premier Badminton League in January.  Sindhu made sure of this one, however, and she saw off her visiting challenger in straight games.

Repeat finals and finalists

Nor was the Rio final the only one repeated on Sunday.  Each of the other four finals had at least one finalist from the 2016 edition and the most notable was the men’s doubles.  It was the fourth meeting between Indonesia’s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (pictured) and Ricky Karanda Suwardi / Angga Pratama.  Last year, when these two pairs met in the final in India, it was their first encounter but by the time Gideon and Sukamuljo had finished off their straight-game victory, they had a 4-0 record against their compatriots.

In the women’s doubles, Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao were back and again playing a fellow Japanese pair.  Despite the fact that this time they were against two understudies, rather than the world #1 who had bested them last year, was not enough of a factor and Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto were the ones who dominated the deciding game and earned the right to take the title back to Japan.

Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong were not only back in the mixed doubles final after winning the title last year.  They also were in a final against Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (pictured bottom) for the first time since last year’s Australian Open, which just happened to be the last time they had beaten their now world #1 compatriots.

Things didn’t go quite as smoothly for the defending champions as they had in Australia but they did take control late in the final game and got back to having the upper hand on the two youngsters.  Like Gideon/Sukamuljo did later in the afternoon, Lu and Huang maintained their lock on the early Superseries events, adding India to the All England titles they won early last month.

The only losing finalist from 2016 who managed to change his stars was Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen (pictured).  He allowed Kento Momota to relegate him to runner-up last year but he was dominant in his final this year against Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen.

The only player to beat Axelsen so far in 2017 has been Lin Dan.  Chou, for his part, has continually beaten players coming off major upsets but he had no answer for Axelsen’s attacking and court coverage on Sunday.

Most of the top players are heading directly for Borneo this week for the Malaysia Open Superseries Premier.  All of the India finalists will be in the hunt for a first ever title there.

Final results
WD:  Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (JPN) [7] beat Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao (JPN) [3]  16-21, 21-19, 21-10
XD:  Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) [2] beat Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1]  22-24, 21-14, 21-17
MS:  Viktor Axelsen (DEN) [3] beat Chou Tien Chen (TPE) [7]  21-13, 21-10
MD:  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) [4] beat Ricky Karanda Suwardi / Angga Pratama (INA) [6]  21-11, 21-15
WS:  Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (IND) [3] beat Carolina Marin (ESP) [1]  21-19, 21-16

Click here for complete results

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net