OUE Singapore Open 2017

Rampant marin heads to semis

Spain's Carolina Marin celebrates winning a point against India's P.V. Sindhu. The reigning Olympic champion never trailed in either game, winning 21-11, 21-15 in 35 minutes.
Spain's Carolina Marin celebrates winning a point against India's P.V. Sindhu. The reigning Olympic champion never trailed in either game, winning 21-11, 21-15 in 35 minutes.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Her aggression, coupled with Sindhu's errors, ensure a swift win as first title of 2017 is in sight

The most anticipated clash of this year's OUE Singapore Open so far - a repeat of last year's Olympic women's singles final - turned out to be a non-contest yesterday.

Spaniard Carolina Marin, the reigning Olympic champion, proved the victor again as she tipped her rivalry with India's P.V. Sindhu back in her favour (6-5), winning 21-11, 21-15 easily.

Having lost out in their two high-profile meetings after the Rio de Janeiro Games last August - the Dubai season finale in December and this month's India Open final - Marin, 23, said she was determined to put a stop to an unwanted losing streak yesterday.

It showed in the world No . 2's aggression - in her strokes and also in her shouts. With a triumphant shriek and a pump of her right fist that followed each point she won, the southpaw silenced many in the 5,500-strong crowd who turned out in support of Sindhu.

Marin, a two-time world champion (2014, 2015), said: "I was really focused on what I had to do and I pushed her from the beginning of the match. I really wanted to beat her here today."

Errors flowed from Sindhu's racket, the world No. 5 admitting later that there was simply too big a gap to make up for by the time she found some rhythm.

But the Rio Olympic runner-up, who staged comebacks in two lengthy matches that went the distance before yesterday, declined to use fatigue as a factor for her loss.

She said: "There were simple errors from my side. I gave away a huge lead at the start and by the time I wanted to counter, she had finished (the match) off.

"I think I was fit enough and prepared but sometimes it's just not your day. You just have to come back stronger and learn from your mistakes."

Marin never gave Sindhu a chance to sneak back into the match, building up as much as a 12-point lead in the opening game.

She will go into her semi-final gainst South Korea's world No. 3 Sung Ji Hyun today high on confidence.

She was a quarter-finalist at the All England Open and also made the final last week in Malaysia, although Marin is well aware her good showing so far this year has not been matched by a title.

"I think I'm improving in my game and I'm getting more confident with myself after my injury in my (lower back)," she said, adding that she feels she is back to peak form. "I want to fight to get the title here."

The men's singles event, in the shadows of the women this year, will feature a cast of less familiar shuttlers, with all four semi-finalists ranked outside of the top 20.

Indonesia's No. 26 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting will meet India's No. 29 K. Srikanth, while the latter's team-mate B. Sai Praneeth (No. 30) will play South Korea's No. 35 Lee Dong Keun.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2017, with the headline 'Rampant marin heads to semis'. Print Edition | Subscribe