Hong Kong: Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu lost to top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in a repeat of the 2016 final of the Hong Kong Open Superseries here on Sunday.
World No.1 Tai played a compact and complete game to earn a 21-18, 21-18 triumph in 45 minutes to pocket her third Hong Kong Open title.
It was Asian champion Tai's fifth Superseries crown of 2017 after triumphing at All England, Malaysia, Singapore and France.
Tai, who had a healthy 7-3 advantage in career head-to-head records coming into this match against Sindhu, dominated the Indian from the beginning. She quickly opened up a 7-2 lead in the first game. But Sindhu made a strong comeback by notching up four consecutive points.
Tai went to the mid-game break holding an 11-8 advantage. Afterwards, even though Tai kept bagging points, Sindhu didn't allow her to run away, keeping herself in the game.
Tai, however, thanks to a combination of aggressive strokes and cunning net game, took a 18-15 lead. But Sindhu refused to surrender. Capitalising on a couple of unforced errors from Tai, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist, urged on by a vociferous and sizeable Indian crowd, equalised 18-all.
But Sindhu made two line judgment mistakes at the critical moment as Tai pocketed the first game 21-18.
In the second game, Sindhu took a 4-1 lead but Tai hit back with three consecutive points, making the most of her fiery smashes. However, Sindhu went into the mid-game break holding a slender 11-10 lead.
But after the break, Tai upped the ante and turned the heat on Sindhu, who had spent a lot of energy in containing the Taiwanese. Tai stamped her authority by playing ruthless and aggressive badminton, making the most of acute angles.
Sindhu looked flabbergasted at the way Tai dictated the pace of the game. Tai grabbed six points in a row to sit at a 18-12 advantage. Sindhu tried to catch Tai but the latter ran away the winner with a 21-18 victory in the second game.
Three-time World Championships medallist Sindhu has now lost to the 23-year-old Tai for the fourth consecutive time.
Sindhu, who was aiming for her third Superseries title of the year after wins in India and South Korea, had to settle for the $15,200 prize money, while Tai got richer by $30,000.