File Photo : P.V.Sindhu
SPORTINGINDIA|03-Aug-2018 23:09

P V Sindhu got into her second consecutive semifinal with a grueling two-set win over the defending champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-17 21-19 in 58 minutes. In the first set Japanese played really well and lead 7-3 until Sindhu found her rhythm to win the next five consecutive points to level the set 8-8. During this period, the Indian used the forehand pushes to the backcourt very well to win points. Nozomi went into the break with a slender one-point advantage.

After the break, both of them started to fight for each and every point but the Indian was very good with forcing the play and winning the long rallies. At 14-13, Sindhu won three consecutive points to go into 17-13. Indian won a 32 shot rally with her forehand push which proved to be a turning point in the set and lead 19-16. She won another point to have four set points at 20-16. Nozomi saved a game point but Sindhu won the next point to take the first set 21-17 in 25 minutes.

In the second set Defending champion got a great start and won the first points to lead 5-0. After that Sindhu won her first point with a deep corner push at the backcourt. From that moment, Sindhu fought for each and every point until 5-9. She won a 32 shot rally to win a point and then again won a 45 shot rally to go into the break with a three-point deficit 8-11. The momentum shifted as Sindhu engaged the Japanese in long rallies and win it. 

After the break, last time runners-up won three consecutive points to level the set 13-13 with a forehand smash down the line and won the next two points to lead 15-13. The Japanese cameback and leveled the set 16-16. Sindhu won the next point with her powerful smash but lost the next point to level it again 17-17. Nozomi won a point but faulted with her serve to make it 18-18. Sindhu won the next point with a very good rally but Nozomi won the next point to make it 19-19.  The Indian closed the game with two errors from the Japanese to seal the match in her favor.

Sindhu had a very good strategy coming into the match that is engage her opponent into long rallies and waitpatiently for an opportunity. This strategy really paid dividends as she won all the three long rallies which gave her a psychological advantage in the match. Another thing which stood out was her determination to win the match and not to give any chance for the opponent to come back.

4th seeded Indian has a very good chance of winning her next match against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the semifinals. She should justhave to come up with a strategy like she did in quarterfinals and execute it perfectly to go into the finals and turn the color of the medal.

In the other Women’s singles quarterfinal, Saina lost her match to Carolina Marin of Spain in straight sets 6-21,11-21. The left-handed played really well and did not even give a chance to  Saina to comeback into the match. It was just one of the days that Saina tried her best with all her strokes but the opponent was too strong and was a step ahead of her. The 10 the seeded Indian can take a lot of confidence from this tournament to perform well.

Loss for Sai Praneeth and mixed doubles duo

The lone Men’s Singles quarterfinalist Sai Praneeth lost his match to Kento Momota of Japan in straight sets 12-21,12-21. Praneeth played his best but the Japanese player was just a level above in all the aspects of the game in this particular day. He can be very happy with his performance in this tournament as he reached the quarterfinal for the first time and play the same standard of badminton in future tournaments.

Dream run for the Mixed doubles combination of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa came into end with a straight-set loss to top-seeded Chinese pair of Zhen Siwei and Huang Yaqiong 17-21,10-21. The Indian pair played really well to reach the quarterfinal stage and take a lot of positives from their performance in this championship.