After a long, long time, I watched a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat badminton match. PV Sindhu vs Japan's Yamaguchi, who is the top seed and currently world number two, battling for the Dubai World Superseries Finals.
Such a hard fought game. Felt quite bad when Sindhu, after coming so close to victory, lost so narrowly.
The first set was Sindhu's. At one stage, she picked up eight points in a row, to gain a five point lead of 13-8. Again she picked up six points consecutively to reach 20-13. Then Yamaguchi gifted the game to her - 21-15.
The second game was tough. Sindhu started off well picking up the opening five points. After that she could never keep up the same momentum. After leading 8-7, Sindhu never had the lead. Yamaguchi overtook her. Sindhu trailed 11-16, and then finally lost the game 12-21.
The third game was tougher and the best. It was a neck and neck progression, with neither able to get a solid lead over the other. Again Sindhu took an early lead 4-0. Yamaguchi kept chasing Sindhu, who kept the lead - though never with a gap of over two points - till 14-13, which was the culmination of one of the most toughest rallies I have seen.
Yamaguchi then overtook Sindhu, who managed to level the score at 15, then at 17 and finally at 19. But Sindhu could never overtake, and finally lost the game 19-21.
There were many long rallies. But the significant aspect of it was that, it was always Yamaguchi who won them finally. That could be an indication of Sindhu not being able to keep her nerve and making the mistake of handing over the point to the opponent.
But there is nothing to suggest that Sindhu did badly. It was such a close contest, and Yamaguchi managed to nudge ahead of Sindhu just in time to win the game and the match.
Why Sindhu falters at the last moment is something that she and coach Gopichand will have to ponder over.
All said and done, really proud of Sindhu. Congratulations, for a fabulous and gritty display of badminton.