New Delhi, 23 October:  In an incident-marred clash, two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu went down to Rio 2016 champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the semi-finals of the Denmark Open badminton at the Jyske Bank Arena in Odense.

Sindhu, six places below world No. 6 Carolina Marin in the badminton rankings, lost the contest 21-18, 19-21, 21-7 in 71 minutes. This was the 11th loss for the Indians against Marin in the 16th head-to-head meeting. The two had also locked horns in the Rio Olympics final which was won by Marin.

Sindhu, who last beat Marin at the Malaysia Open in 2018, extended her losing streak against the Spaniard to five matches.

The first game saw the two use their reach to good effect and trade leads before the break. The Indian went into the mid-game interval with a slender one-point lead and held onto it for the most part. However,  Marin used her smashes to trouble Sindhu and took the first game by winning the final four points.

Sindhu began the second game with renewed intensity and raced to an 11-3 lead in quick time. Marin engaged in longer rallies and fought back with seven straight points before the Indian started to turn the rallies around with her defensive skills to make it 14-10.

Carolina Marin kept finding timely responses with a good mix of net play and smashes and saved three game points but Sindhu’s early lead proved to be decisive at the end of the second game.

The Indian, who has struggled with injuries since winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games last year, ran out of steam in the decider to lose the match in three games.

This was Sindhu’s fifth appearance in the semi-finals this season. A former world champion and two-time Olympic medallist, she is searching for her first BWF title this year.

Sindhu had defeated Thailand’s Supanida Katethong, Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, and Indonesia’s Gregoria Tunjung in the previous rounds.

Results at the Denmark Open as well as the Paris Open will count towards players’ qualifying rankings for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

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