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Sindhu wins Swiss Open at her Basel fortress; Prannoy falls at final hurdle


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She was in the same mood last year, marching into the Swiss Open final before being halted by Spain’s three-time world champion Carolina Marin.
 

 

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PV Sindhu.(File image)

 

There is something about Basel that takes PV Sindhu’s game to a different level. One saw that destructive prowess from her in the 2019 World Championships when she brushed aside top rivals Tai Tzu Ying, Chen Yufei and Nozomi Okuhara to claim the crown at St. Jakobshalle.

She was in the same mood last year, marching into the Swiss Open final before being halted by Spain’s three-time world champion Carolina Marin.

Playing a third successive final in Basel on Sunday, the twice Olympic medallist swept to her second title of the year—she won the Syed Modi India International in Lucknow in January.

She is the second Indian woman to win the Swiss Open, Saina Nehwal having won in 2011 and 2012.

The second seed hammered Thai fourth seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-16, 21-8 in 49 minutes. The world No 7 barely broke a sweat through the week, apart from the semi-final against Thai Supanida Katethong when she dropped a game.

The former world champion was the overwhelming favourite coming into the $180,000 tournament after Chinese Olympic champion and top seed Chen Yufei pulled out. Sindhu also held a 15-1 head-to-head record against the world No 11 Thai. And her on-court movement, powerful smashes and superb reach made sure she extended that advantage.

Such was the power of Sindhu’s smashes and her racquet speed that Busanan barely kept pace, especially in the second game.

The wristy Thai tried deception at the net but the Indian was too good for that. Busanan provided some fight in the first game but became more or less a spectator in the second with Sindhu easing through—she picked eight consecutive points to reach 20-4—to hold an incredible 16 championship points, converting the fifth.

Known as a big tournament player, Sindhu took 19 months to reach another final (2021 Swiss Open) and 29 months to win a tournament (2022 Syed Modi) after becoming the 2019 world champion.

The 26-year-old has now won two titles in just over two months. Though both events were Super 300 and not top-tier events, India’s highest-ranked player has significantly regained the winning momentum in an important year, ahead of the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the World Championships.

Prannoy loses in straight games to Christie

Playing in a final after five years, HS Prannoy was hoping to win the men’s singles title in Basel for a second time after 2016. But that wasn’t to be as Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie of Indonesia convincingly beat the unseeded Indian 21-12, 21-18 in 48 minutes.

Prannoy, 29, tried to fight it out, especially in the second game, but was no match for the fourth seed, who easily defended Prannoy’s attacks. Christie, 24, won his first title since the 2019 Australian Open while Prannoy’s last title came at the 2017 US Open.

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