Big game for India at Olympics as PV Sindhu will spar off against World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying for a spot in the finals, with golden dreams in her eyes.
Grab yourself a large tub of popcorn as we are headed for a blockbuster of a semi-final clash as India’s shuttle queen PV Sindhu goes toe to toe against the World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying, from Chinese Taipei. Consider this to be the Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal level of clash, only this will be essayed in the language of badminton and it is expected that a lot of fireworks will fly as the two seasoned shuttlers take to the court and fight it out for the final spot – so, watch out as the sparks will fly!
Remember the not-so-distant 2021 French Open semi-final featuring the same Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and how surreal the entire match turned out to be – and making itself totally worthy of being called the ‘final’ match that matters – tomorrow’s encounter is set to follow that same pattern and one can already feel it in their bones!
Currently the best in the business, Tai Tzu Ying is a formidable opponent on any given day but at the Tokyo Olympics – Tai Tzu will be doubly scary as she has been denied a medal here in the 2 previous editions she participated.
The Numero Uno in the world, Tai Tzu Ying, at 27, is a legend of the sport and possesses mad skills that will make you want to hold on to the edge of your seats, a little breathless to watch this trailblazer in action. Lithe and deceptive, Tai has the capability to do magic with the flying bird – manipulating it in a style only she can – with her seamless flicks of the wrist, her cross-court attacks and most bamboozling net play – Tai’s motto in any match is to puzzle the opponent and PV Sindhu, truth be told, has been trying to solve this Rubik’s cube for a little too long.
Having crossed paths 18 memorable times in their career already, PV Sindhu is familiar with the dangerously beguiling ways of the Taiwanese player who has reached her maiden semi-final at the Tokyo Olympics, in her third attempt at the quadrennial Games.
Having up-stocked her ammunition in preparation for the Olympics and in hopes of making the golden dream come to life, PV Sindhu is a changed and more mature player at the Games, courtesy her Korean coach Park Tae-sang. She has sharpened her presence at the net and she has produced merciless shots en route to the semi-finals that have made our jaws drop as the very quality of her game has now increased to an almost invincible form.
The blockbuster we were all waiting for PV Sindhu and Tai Tzu Ying (Source: PBL) Known for rising to the occasion always, PV Sindhu is the big match player who is all-too-familiar with the syllabus of knowing which shots to play, which attitude to put on, which mindset to bring to the game – at the grandest of stages. Having check-listed an Olympic medal in her debut outing itself as she returned with a silver from Rio, PV Sindhu also went on to become a 5-time World Championship medallist that includes the crown from 2019 – Sindhu knows exactly what it takes to earn the hardware.
On the other hand, Tai Tzu might hold the mighty record of being the World No. 1 for the most number of weeks at 148, but she has no crown to show for her greatness from either the World Championships or the Olympics. In London as well as Rio, Tai Tzu had to bid farewell at the Round of 16 stage and therefore now that she is into the semis, for the first time, Tai will be hungry for a win and will bring everything in her power – and more, to not let Sindhu bring more pain to her Olympic journey.
Although Tai Tzu has won every one of their last 3 meetings, with the very recent one coming at the 2020 HSBC World Tour Finals in January 2021 where Tai fought a thriller to win, 19-21, 21-12, 21-17, she will be the favourite, by the thinnest of margins coming into the match. Meanwhile, for PV Sindhu, out of the 5 times she has defeated Tai, on 3 occasions it has been at the greatest of stages like the World Tour Finals, the World Championships and the Olympics.
In this 2016 Rio Olympics re-match at the Tokyo Olympics between the same opponents – PV Sindhu and Tai Tzu Ying, both players have a fair set of expectations to live upto. It will be an uphill task, as always for Sindhu but she will have the psychological advantage of having handed Tai a defeat at these stages – Sindhu will be hoping for a repeat act of the 2016 Round of 16 clash. Coming into the match, PV Sindhu has to use her aggression to its fullest and attack the comparatively weak backhand of Tai and go for the big shots and upset Tai’s dictatorial routine on the court. All in all, it is going to be a match worthy of being hailed as the final as these two players lock horns and we cannot help but wait impatiently for the fireworks to begin as history remains at stake, eagerly waiting for it to be scripted!