Kuala Lumpur, May 4: P V Sindhu reaffirmed her status as the rising star of Indian badminton as she lifted her maiden Grand Prix Gold title in Malaysia after getting the better of Juan Gu of Singapore in a gruelling final here today.
The top-seeded Indian took an hour and 11 minutes to prevail over her fifth seeded opponent, 21-17 17-21 21-19. What turned out to be a close match, the in-form Sindhu played the smash winners better than Gu.
The World No.13 Indian shuttler hit as many as 17 smash winners compared to just nine by the Singaporean girl. Sindhu opened up a 5-0 lead in the first game but the World No. 27 came back brilliantly to make it 7-7.
The Singaporean then won a couple of more points to climb to a 10-7 lead. But the tall Indian teenager showed her class as she went on to clinch six consecutive points to make it 13-10 before surging ahead and forcing her rival into submission to claim the game 21-17.
In the second game, however, Gu launched a tough fight against the Indian. It was a neck-and-neck battle till 15-15 before Gu notched up three straight points to take a lead and wrap it up at 21-17.
The third and deciding game started on an even footing and the two were tied at 5-5. But Gu upped the ante, even as Sindhu seemed went haywire for a while.
Gu went on to take a massive 13-7 lead and it seemed all over for the Indian. But with Gu leading 15-10, Sindhu fought back to pocket four points on the trot and reduce the gap to 14-15.
Thereafter the match tilted from one end to another with the scores levelled at 18-18 at one stage. Sindhu managed to bag two more points and pushed herself when it mattered most to close the issue at 21-19.