Indian star shuttler P.V. Sindhu had to settle for a historic silver after going down in straight games in the women's singles final at the 18th Asian Games here on Tuesday.
Third seed Sindhu was no match for World No.1 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan and was outclassed 21-13, 21-16 in just 34 minutes.
The defeat meant that Sindhu became the first Indian to win an individual silver medal in badminton at the Asiad. It was also the first Asiad individual medal for Sindhu, who has a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games and four World Championships medals.
Coming into the final, Tai was the firm favourite since Sindhu had not defeated the Taiwanese since her win in the pre-quarterfinals of the Rio Games. Sindhu had a poor 3-9 career head-to-head record against Tai, who had won five consecutive games against the 23-year-old Indian.
Tai, who got past Saina Nehwal in the semi-finals on Monday, started strongly against Sindhu, taking a 5-0 lead. But Sindhu didn't allow Tai to run away with the game, albeit briefly. Sindhu fought back to trail 4-6.
Tai, known for her deceptive game, however, continued to pile pressure on the Indian with her half smashes. Strong at the net, Tai forced Sindhu to go for power, and it resulted in Sindhu hitting several shots going over the line. A 17-10 lead meant the first game was out of Sindhu's control and she lost 13-21.
In the second game, Sindhu ensured that she kept the pace at the beginning with Tai. They were tied 4-4 but Tai grabbed quick points to take a 9-6 lead.
The 24-year-old Tai continued her ascendancy and took a 15-10 lead. Sindhu tried to fight hard to stay in the contest as they shared a point each when the score read 19-15 in favour of Tai, who then sealed the game 21-16.
It was Sindhu's third loss in the finals of major competitions in 2018, after defeats at the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships.