India’s PV Sindhu took another giant leap towards etching her name permanently in the badminton history books by winning her first individual Commonwealth Games gold medal and scoring a hat-trick of medals at the Games with a victory over Canada’s Michelle Li in the women’s singles final in Birmingham. Sindhu has now improved the color of the medal in his three CWG attempts. The Indian shuttle ace won bronze in the women’s singles at the Glasgow Games in 2014, followed by silver in Gold Coast four years ago. On Monday, the two-time Olympic medalist defeated the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion in consecutive matches (21-15, 21-13) to clinch India’s 19th podium at the 2022 CWG.
With the crowd right behind her, Sindhu started the opener aggressively. The former world champion, who was a bit uncharacteristically lively early on in the gold medal match, used a 4-2 lead. The Canadian, however, made a quick comeback with consecutive points. That Sindhu wasn’t at all interested in letting Michelle engage him in long rallies was evident when she smash down the line at the Canadian’s serve at 6-6.
Sindhu was on a roll after doubling the numbers. She won six straight points to go 15-8 and run away with a lead that was always going to be extremely difficult for anyone to cover, let alone Michell. The Canadian world number 13 did her best to make a comeback with some clever maneuvers that served her well in the semi-final against Scotland, but at 17-14 in her favor, Sindhu found an outrageous angle to her backhand to snuff out all of Michelle’s hopes. Sindhu won the first game 21-15.
Michelle changed her strategy a bit in the second game and started aiming for Sindhu’s body – a ploy used by many opponents against the Indian to limit the advantage she tends to get from her long reach. But like many times in the past, Sindhu found just enough space to swing his racket. The biggest example of this came when the Indian world number 7 slapped a targeted forehand to her body to earn a point and make it 4-2.
Nothing seemed to work in favor of the former CWG champion. Eight years ago, Sindhu won bronze in the event where Michelle won gold, but now it was a whole different ball game. Sindhu again put the Canadian on the run with five straight points and entered the break with a comfortable 11-6 lead.
Michell again made a brief comeback after the break picking up a few straight points and engaging Sindhu in rallies but the Indian was simply unstoppable. She won the match 21-13 to seal the win and complete a full CWG individual medal streak.
Earlier, Sindhu banked on his technical superiority to outsmart Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min 21-19, 21-17 in a 49-minute contest to reach his second consecutive final. The Indian had also beaten Min in the team event.