Basel, Switzerland: PV Sindhu on Sunday became the first Indian to win badminton World Championships gold by beating familiar rival Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a lop-sided final here.
The Indian won 21-7 21-7 in the summit clash that lasted just 38 minutes.
Two years after being robbed of the gold by Okuhara in an epic 110-minute final at Glasgow that went down as one of the greatest battles in badminton history, Sindhu finally exorcised the ghost of that heart-wrenching loss with a completely dominating win over the same opponent.
It was Sindhu’s fifth World Championships medal — joint-most for a woman singles player with former Olympics and world champion Zhang Ning of China — to go with the two successive silvers and a couple of bronze medals.
Sindhu has also won Olympic silver in 2016 Rio Games, silver at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, an Asian Games silver at Jakarta and the BWF World Tour Finals last year.
In July, B Sai Praneeth along with PV Sindhu had moved into the quarterfinals of the Japan Open after registering contrasting wins in their respective events. While fifth seed Sindhu had to toil hard in an hour-long battle to get the better of unseeded Japanese Aya Ohori 11-21 21-10 21-13 in a second-round women’s singles match, Praneeth had sailed past another local shuttler, Kanta Tsuneyama, 21-13 21-16 in a men’s singles encounter that lasted for 45 minutes.
However, HS Prannoy, who had knocked out compatriot Kidambi Srikanth in the opening round, went down to Rasmus Gemke of Denmark 9-21 15-21 in his second-round match. The win at the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament had extended Sindhu’s head-to-head record to 8-0 over Ohori. Sindhu was then preparing to face the winner of the match between China’s Chen Xiao Xin and fourth-seeded Japanese Akane Yamaguchi, to whom she had lost in the final of the Indonesia Open the previous week.