Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Field tough despite Marin’s absence: Sindhu

- Sandip Sikdar

Carolina Marin withdrawin­g from the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday got social media all chatty about PV Sindhu’s chances of winning gold going up.

The Spanish Olympic badminton champion pulled out after suffering tears in her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and both meniscus on her left knee.

World champion Sindhu, who had to settle for silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics after losing to Marin in the final, says the competitio­n will be just as tough even in the absence of her big rival.

“It is unfortunat­e she had to pull out due to injury, I really hope she has a speedy recovat

Aery,” Sindhu, 25, said from Hyderabad on Wednesday. “She has been a great competitor for me and we share a good equation.”

Sindhu said: “I can’t say the field becomes easy because the top 10 participan­ts are all great their game and I will still need to give it my best and focus on getting results one match at a time.”

Sindhu lost an epic final lasting 83 minutes in Rio after winning the first game. Their rivalry touched new heights when the Spaniard beat Sindhu again in a major final, by straight games at the 2018 world championsh­ips final in Nanjing, China.

A three-time world champion, Marin has a 9-5 career record against Sindhu. She also won their most recent match, in the Swiss Open final at Basel in March where the 27-year-old swept aside Sindhu 21-12, 21-5 in 35 minutes. Sindhu’s last victory against Marin was at the 2018 Malaysia Open quarter-final, in straight games.

“In women’s singles, the top 10 are of the same standard, be it Tai Tzu Ying, Ratchanok (Intanon), Chen Yu Fei, (Nozomi) Okuhara, Carolina, (Akane) Yamaguchi, An Seyoung or Pornpawee (Chochuwong). I cannot take even one match easy as everybody is going to be at their 100 percent. Plus, everybody has their own set of skills,” the world No.7 said.

“Now everybody will not know each other’s game because we haven’t played for two-and-a-half months. So, they’ll come and use their skill, tactics, everything. We’ll have to watch out for everyone and shouldn’t go with one strategy because everybody’s going to improve their game, learn new skills and techniques. We have to be ready and prepared for everything.”

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