Another Indian has challenged China’s dominance in badminton. Teenager Pusarla Venkata Sindhu sensationally beat Olympic champion and World No. 2 Xuerui Li in a quarterfinal match of the China Masters at Changzhou Friday.
The 17-year-old national badminton champion won 21-19, 9-21, 21-16 against the Chinese gold medallist in the first Super Series meet post the Olympics, ensuring that badminton continues to bring home happy tidings a month after Saina Nehwal got India its first Olympic medal in the sport.
The elation is elevated a few notches not merely because the Indian, ranked World No. 24, accounted for the Olympic champion, but also because Sindhu brings with her the added advantage of her towering frame at 5’10”.
Her pedigree is further enhanced by her sporting genes — parents P V Ramana and P Vijaya are both volleyball players.
Moreover, Sindhu has emerged from the same Gopichand academy in Hyderabad from where Nehwal leapt to Olympic glory. Gopichand incidentally has repeatedly stressed on the need for sheer numbers to take on the Chinese juggernaut.
Sindhu’s win against the Olympic champion was a reflection of her temperament. In the two sets that she won, she didn’t once concede the lead to Xuerui. Coming off the Olympic campaign, the Chinese looked a tad rusty and circumspect. As such, the year immediately after the Olympics witnesses a lot of flux as a new brigade emerges, and the Chinese are known to take a good, appraising look at the newer opponents. Still, no one would deny that Sindhu brought her ace-game of high reach and steep smashes (26) to the table in the quarters, a day after she’d accounted for eighth seed Thai Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 10-21, 21-7, 21-19.