Two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu is set to make her comeback at the Denmark Open, which will be held in Odense from October 19 to 24. It will be the ace Indian shuttler’s first tournament since clinching her second Olympic medal at Tokyo 2020.
The Denmark Open is one of the older tournaments on the badminton circuit, having made its debut in 1935. While it was a Super Series event earlier, it has been classified as a BWF Super 750 event since 2018.
Indian badminton players have enjoyed some degree of success in the Scandinavian country, which is one of the hotspots of the sport. Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win the Danish Open back in 1980. In 2012, Saina Nehwal became the first Indian to win the women’s title while Kidambi Srikanth captured the men’s singles title in 2017.
Sindhu, who is the only Indian female athlete to win two Olympic medals, however, hasn’t been at her best at the tournament. Having made her debut in Odense in 2013, her best performance has been a runners-up finish in 2015.
The 5’10 shuttler, who was still a work in progress in 2015, made an unexpected run to the final. She stormed past Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying, who won the silver medal at Tokyo 2020, 21-12, 21-15 in 34 minutes.
In the semi-final, she was locked into an almighty tussle against Spain’s Carolina Marin. After losing the first game 15-21, the left-handed Marin clawed back into the contest by taking the second 21-18. Sindhu edged her 21-17 in the final game to win the match in an hour and 15 minutes.
A drained Sindhu wasn’t quite a match for China’s Li Xue Rui in the final. The Indian went down 19-21, 12-21 in 47 minutes.
A year earlier Sindhu, aged 19, had made the quarterfinal of Denmark Open. She went down fighting against Korea's Sing Jihyun 23-25, 20-22.
The statuesque Indian, however, has struggled for form in Odense for the five years. Her record at the Denmark Open reads: second round in 2019, first round in 2018, first round in 2017 and second round in 2016.
She will hope to do a lot better on her return.
“The biggest challenge when I am back in the circuit (after skipping the Sudirman Cup and the ongoing Uber Cup events), is to stay focussed and put into action all the new tactics which I have picked up, thanks to Park and my father constantly reviewing my game, watching all the videos of my recent matches,” the 26-year-old Sindhu had said earlier this week.
“I have been practising hard after a break and focussing on every aspect of the game too to be a complete player,” she added.