Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu lost to Japan's Sayaka Takahashi in three hard-fought games in the semifinals as India's campaign came to an end in the French Open BWF World Tour Super 750 event on Saturday.
Sindhu, the lone Indian in the fray on the penultimate day of the competition, got off to a good start as she won the first game but could not maintain the momentum as her Japanese opponent came back strongly to win the next two games and seal a place in the final. Sindhu lost 21-18, 16-21, 12-21 in the last-four stage encounter that lasted just over one hour.
Playing on the show court at Stade Pierre de Coubertin, the famous indoor stadium in the French capital, the 26-year-old Sindhu was off to a tentative start and was trailing 10-11 at the halfway stage against the 29-year-old Japanese left-hander. Sindhu kept up the pressure and from 14-16 came up with some good cross-court smashes to take the lead and went on to win the first game.
Sindhu started the second game well and established an 11-9 lead at the break. Sayaka took control of the proceedings from 16-14 to win a flurry of points and wrapped up the second game 21-16.
In the decider, the Japanese played aggressively, smashed the shuttle into Sindhu's body and Sayaka sealed victory with another powerful smash and set up a summit clash.
This is the second tournament in a row that Sindhu, who on a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics to add to the silver she bagged at Rio de Janeiro in 2015, has failed to reach the final. She had lost in the quarter-finals in the Denmark Open last week.