P V Sindhu's quest for a maiden Badminton Asia Championships title came to an end as she lost to Japan's Akane Yamaguchi 21-13, 19-21, 16-21 in their semifinal clash in Manila, Philippines, on Saturday. Sindhu got off to a strong start and was leading the match in the second game 21-13, 14-11, but she was handed a point penalty for taking too much time between points, which led to an argument with the referee.
The 26-year-old, who won two super 300 titles at Syed Modi International and Swiss Open this year, lost the momentum after the penalty and eventually suffered a defeat.
This was Yamaguchi's ninth career win over Sindhu, with the latter having won 13 of their 22 clashes.
Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, was in fantastic form as she pocketed the first game easily in 16 minutes. However, the turning point came in the second game after she was handed a point penalty.
The break in play led to a shift in momentum as Yamaguchi, the defending champion, levelled the proceedings to force a decider. Yamaguchi seized control of the third game and didn't offer Sindhu, seeded fourth, any room to regroup. The Indian trailed all throughout the decider and Yamaguchi sped away to claim five match points, which she duly converted.
Sindhu made her way into the medal round after a nervy 21-9, 13-21, 21-19 win over China's He Bing Jiao, who she had defeated to win bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.
India's challenge at the individual continental championship came to end with Sindhu's defeat as Saina Nehwal's shot at claiming a fourth medal at the tournament ended with her loss to China's Wang Zhi Yi early on, while seventh-seeded Kidambi Srikanth was ousted by China's Weng Hong Yang in the men's singles second round.
India's men's doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty made a quarterfinal exit on Friday as they lost 21-12, 14-21,16- 21 to the fifth seeded Malaysian pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.