Sindhou hopes for gold
17 December 2018 | Sports
In the men's final of the season-ending $1.5 million tournament in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, home player and number two in the world Shi Yuqi plays top-ranked Kento Momota of Japan in a mouthwatering showdown.
The sixth-ranked Indian Sindhu has been in imperious form all week and made it a fourth victory with a bruising defeat of Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon on Saturday.
The 23-year-old player, renowned for her never-say-die attitude, needed all her resolve to finally see off Ratchanok 21-16, 25-23 in a captivating semi-final.
Sindhu has suffered a series of finals disappointments in recent years, as well as silver at Rio 2016 and silver at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games this year.
Likewise, she has lost twice in the final of the World Championships and was runner-up in last year's season finale. "I hope that ending the season, I can win gold, it definitely would mean a lot," said the Indian. "I would not call it pressure. I will just play freely, like how I have played these last four matches. And, if I win it, it will be very important for me."
In the other last-four clash in the women's draw, Okuhara, a place above Sindhu at five in the world, emerged from an all-Japanese clash against Akane Yamaguchi, winning 21-17, 21-14.
The men's championship match promises to be a cracker between Momota, the world champion, and Shi. The 22-year-old Shi, who has taken over from the likes of Olympic champions Chen Long and Lin Dan as China's best men's player, came back from a slow start to beat Indian underdog Sameer Verma.
Momota had it comparatively easy against Son Wan-ho, to underline his status as the tournament favourite. - AFP