Indian shuttler PV Sindhu settled for silver at the Rio Olympics 2016 after being beaten 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 by World No 1 Carolina Marin of Spain in the badminton women's singles event on Friday.
It is India's second medal in the Rio Games after wrestler Sakshi Malik bagged bronze in the women's 58kg category on Wednesday. In a hard-fought summit clash, which lasted one hour and 20 minutes, fortunes fluctuated dramatically at the Riocentro - Pavilion 4.
With the win, two-time World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu now trails Carolina 2-5 in career head to head meetings.
Earlier on Thursday, Sindhu thumped Nozomi Okuhara of Japan to enter the final of the women's singles event of badminton competitions at the Rio Olympics 2016, registering a 21-19, 21-10 triumph in straight games in the semi-finals.
It was a historic occasion for the Indian sports fraternity, as she not only became the first Indian female shuttler to reach the final of the Olympic badminton singles event, but also became the first woman to win an Olympic medal other than bronze. Enjoying the support of a decent Indian turnout at the venue, she dominated the game for the most part, conceding the lead only momentarily at the start of the second set.
Let us take a look at Sindhu's path-breaking journey in the women's singles event, which ultimately resulted in her :
Preliminaries, Group M: PV Sindhu (India, Rank 10) beat Laura Sarosi (Hungary, Rank 64) 21-8, 21-9
India's P.V. Sindhu thrashed Hungarian Laura Sarosi 21-8, 21-9 in straight games in a Group M match of women's singles badminton. The World No 10 took just 27 minutes to wrap up the match against the No 64.
In the first game, the 21-year-old Indian took a strong lead of 8-1 to extend it further to 11-5 in the mid-game interval. After the break, Sindhu's domination continued as she clinched it 21-8 in 13 minutes.
In the second game, the Hungarian came back well to match Sindhu initially, before the Indian went ahead to make it 11-6 during the interval. Sindhu then took six points on the trot building a strong 17-6 lead before conceding two points but established her supremacy to bag the game 21-9 in 14 minutes.
Preliminaries, Group M: PV Sindhu (India, Rank 10) beat Michelle Li (Canada, Rank 20) 19-21, 21-15, 21-17
Sindhu, two-time World Championship bronze medallist, held off a strong challenge from Canadian Michelle Li. The world No.20 won the first game 21-19 but Sindhu fought back to take the next two games 21-15, 21-17.
Pre-quarters (Round of 16): PV Sindhu (India, Rank 10) beat Tai Tzu-ying (Chinese Taipi, Rank 8) 21-13, 21-15
Sindhu entered the quarter-finals of the women's singles event at the on going Rio Olympics by defeating Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei in straight games. Sindhu dominated right from the start to defeat her highly rated opponent 21-13, 21-15 within 40 minutes in the pre-quarterfinal clash at Court 2 of the Riocentro Pavilion 4.
Before this match, Tzu-ying enjoyed a 4-2 advantage in head to head encounters against Sindhu. But the 21-year-old from Hyderabad was in superb form and dominated her opponent throughout the match. Sindhu, however, was expected to face a much tougher challenge in last eight stage in shape of World No 2 Wang Yihan of China.
Quarter-final: PV Sindhu (India, Rank 10) beat Wang Yihan (China, Rank 2) 22-20, 21-19
Sindhu caused a huge upset, stunning World No 2 Wang Yihan of China in straight games to enter the semi-finals of the women's singles category.Faced with a much higher rated opponent, the 21-year-old from Hyderabad scripted a 22-20, 21-19 victory in 54 minutes over the former World No.1 at the Riocentro Pavilion 4.
Wang, who had taken silver at the 2012 London Olympics, was expected to be the stronger of the two, but it was Sindhu who dominated most of the exchanges.
The Indian won the majority of the long rallies and used her power-packed smashes and cross-court shots to good effect.
Semi-final: PV Sindhu (India, Rank 10) beat Nozomi Okuhara (Japan, Rank 6) 21-19, 21-10
Sindhu registered a 21-19, 21-10 triumph in the semi-finals over world No 6 Okuhara to become the first Indian shuttler to enter the final of the Olympics. With this win, double World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu improved her head-to-head record against reigning All England Open champion Okuhara to 2-3.
In the final, she would go on to face two-time reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain, who beat defending champion Li Xuerui of China 21-14, 21-16.
Final: PV Sindhu (India, Rank 10) lost to Carolina Marin (Spain, Rank 1) 21-19, 12-21, 15-21
In what was perceived as a herculean task for the 21-year-old, facing the world No 1 in the grand finale, Sindhu trailed for the most part in the first game. She was on the verge of conceding it at 16-19, before posting a tremendous turnaround to win it 21-19.
Marin however, stepped up in the next game, in which she dominated throughout, leading by a mile at 11-2 at the halfway mark. Though Sindhu tried making a comeback later that game, she ended up losing it 12-21.
The final game was a see-saw battle between the two, with Marin leading by just a point at the half-way mark. The Spaniard however, shifted the balance of the game to her side by winning four consecutive points, eventually clinching the match 19-21, 21-12, 21-15.
With inputs from IANS