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PV Sindhu vs Nozomi Okuhara: An Exemplary Rivalry in Women’s Badminton

PV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara have always produced cliffhangers in their recent matches, and their close head to head record underlines their competitiveness. While they both give each other tough competition, they are contrasting figures having different styles of play. 

Sindhu is almost a foot taller than Okuhara. While Sindhu has built her game with thunderous smashes, Okuhara swiftly moves around the court and relies on her precision of shots. They have faced each other 17 times, and Sindhu leads nine to Okuhara’s eight. Their matches are defined with longer rallies and nail-biting moments for the fans. 

Here we have brought to you a few of their best encounters with each other.

The Rio 2016 Clash

Sindhu and Okuhara met for the fifth time at the semi-finals of the 2016 Rio Olympics. It was their debut into the Olympic event, and also it was the first instance where Indian badminton fans saw Sindhu raising the bar of Indian badminton. The first game was very close, where both the shuttlers were regularly exchanging points and PV Sindhu winning the game Okuhara missed out a smash. 

The second game witnessed a lot of unforced errors from Okuhara and Sindhu eventually won the match 21-19, 21-10, and progressed into the finals of the mega event. She went on to win a silver at her debut Olympics.

World Championship Finals, 2017 

The World Championship Final between Okuhara and Sindhu was one of the legendary matches in the history of World Badminton. It was an exquisite display of stamina, mental strength, and shuttle skills that lasted for two hours. 

The highlight of the match was the 73 shot rally- the longest in a Women’s game. It was a draining match and both of them fought for each point. However, Okuhara won the match 21-19, 20-22, 22-20. An exemplary action of play indeed!

Other Matches 

Sindhu avenged her World Championship loss at the 2019 World Championships, where she defeated Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in straight sets in just 38 minutes. She became the first Indian to win a World Championship title.

In 2018, Sindhu defeated Okuhara in the quarter-finals of the All England Championships and the finals of the BWF World Tour Finals. 

Their most recent encounter was at the 2020 All England Championships where Okuhara won 12-21, 21-15, 21-13 after losing her previous two encounters against Sindhu. 

Their rivalry on court brings out the best in badminton and is a treat to watch for all the badminton fans around the World. 


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