India's Olympic 2016 silver medallist P.V. Sindhu overcame her Rio Games conqueror Carolina Marin in straight games to win her maiden India Open Super series title in New Delhi.
The match-up between Sindhu and Marin was a repeat of the 2016 Rio Olympics final which saw the Spaniard taking away the gold medal in a hard-fought encounter. But in front of her home fans on Sunday, third seed Sindhu triumphed with a 21-19, 21-16 scoreline in 46 minutes.
Since the Rio final, it was the second contest between the two shuttlers and the 21-year-old Hyderabadi has won both. With this win, Sindhu also equalised her career head-to-head against Marin at 5-5.
The Spanish top seed struggled with her net game which proved to be the difference between the two. But Sindhu also had to be credited for showing her ever-improving game, especially in the cross-court net-game and defence.
Backed by a partisan crowd, Sindhu got off to a flying start, opening up a 6-1 lead but Marin got her act together to reduce the deficit to one at 6-7, thanks to her delectable half smashes.
Sindhu then upped the ante and then pushed Marin into all corners. Hitting to the right of left-hander Marin, Sindhu gained the ascendancy even though the fighting Marin kept coming back at her.
Sindhu felt the pressure as Marin equalised at the 16-point mark and for the first took the lead at the next point. The see-saw game continued till the 19-point mark. Then, a powerful stroke from Sindhu to which Marin put it wide made it 20-19 for the Indian. Sindhu then sealed the first game when Marin was slow to defend a half smash.
The second game also saw Sindhu getting in the lead early, forcing Marin to play the catch-up game.
Marin seemed to be struggling with her movement due to a right foot niggle. But the warrior that she is, the Spaniard fought back to come within a point of equalising at the seven-point mark.
But Sindhu pushed on, holding an 11-7 lead at the mid-game break. Marin fired two angling smashes to make it 9-11 before the Indian snatched three consecutive points to have a five-point advantage.
Then onwards, double World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu never looked back and sealed the match with a 21-16 victory.