sindhu KO

PV Sindhu in action for Hyderabad Hunters last season. (IANS file photo)

LONDON — Reigning world champion P.V. Sindhu was knocked out of the All England Championships March 13 after going down 21-12, 15-21, 13-21 to world No. 4 and former world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a match that lasted one hour and eight minutes.

With Sindhu's exit, Indian challenge at the championship also came to an end.

Sindhu served first and raced to a 3-0 lead. She was dominant throughout the first game and led 11-6 at the interval. By the time Okuhara reached double digits, Sindhu was already on 19 points. An unforced error from Okuhara gave Sindhu the game point. Okuhara got another point to make it 12-20 before Sindhu won the game in 18 minutes.

However, the second and third games were quite a different story. Okuhara moved to a 2-1 lead, which was the first time she was ahead in the match, and hardly ever looked back. She increased her lead to 5-2 after an extraordinary 38-shot rally which ended with Sindhu's attempted drop shot finding the net.

Sindhu fought back, closing the gap to 6-8 which was also in part thanks to a few unforced errors from Okuhara. But the Japanese kept her opponent at bay and led 11-8 at the interval.

Okuhara raced away after the restart and was soon leading 20-11. Sindhu saved three game points, but in the end a forehand to the net resulted in her losing the game 15-21.

In the third game, Okuhara hardly gave Sindhu any quarter, picking up everything successfully, leading 11-6 going into the break. Sindhu staged a late fightback to reduce the gap, but in the end Okuhara won the game 21-13.

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