Sindhu's World Tour Finals over after second defeat

PV Sindhu was a game and 15-11 up, before losing her World Tour Finals opener against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in Guangzhou on December 11. Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images

PV Sindhu's title defence at the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China came to end on Thursday. Sindhu lost to China's Chen Yu Fei 22-20, 16-21, 12-21 for her second loss in the group stage. Japan's Akane Yamaguchi won her second round-robin match shortly afterwards, dashing Sindhu's slim chances of making the last four as Yamaguchi and Chen both have two wins out of a maximum of three now.

In the early stages of the first game, there was little to separate the two players. Chen kept her nose ahead to hold a short lead going into the changeover, after which she pulled ahead to an 18-14 lead. That's when Sindhu's fightback began, with the Indian winning four straight points. Down a game point at 20-19, a net point forced a dive from Sindhu, whose short response just cleared the net and took Chen by surprise. Chen netted her lift and Sindhu won the next two points to take the game.

Sindhu jumped out to an early 5-1 lead to begin the second game. This time it was Chen's turn to stage a comeback, the Chinese making it 5-5 before taking the lead going into the break at 11-8. Chen extended her lead and held onto it after the break, bringing up five game points at 20-15. Sindhu saved the first one by winning a long rally before Chen forced a deciding game.

In the decider, once again there was little to separate the players up until the changeover. However, after the break, Chen put her foot on the accelerator and, aided by errors from Sindhu, sealed her second victory and a place in the semifinals.