India’s star shuttler P.V. Sindhu overcame reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan on Friday to enter the semi-finals of the All England Open BWF World Tour Super 1000.
The Rio Olympic silver medallist edged past seventh seed Okuhara 20-22, 21-18, 21-18 in an hour and 24 minutes in a last-eight women’s singles class. While the first game was a see-saw battle, with both not letting each other take long run of points, the second and third game saw fourth-seeded Sindhu recover from difficult situations.
In the second game, Sindhu had a three-point advantage at 16-13 but the Japanese hit back and took the lead at 18-16. However, Sindhu displayed superb skills to win the game 21-18 and take the match to the third game. In the third and decisive game, the Indian looked tired and trailed 12-16 but fought back to equalise with four straight points before sealing the game 21-18.
“It was a good match and she also played really well. It was anybody’s game until the last point. I am happy that I pulled off this match. Also, I was trailing like 12-16 and then I came back, so I am happy I won it. I just gave my best There were errors in my part as well. I had to control those errors,” Sindhu said after the win.
On her rivalry with Okuhara, she said: “There are good matches every time we play. Prior to the match, we both have won five-match each. It not easy to get points from her. She tried to play long rallies like it happened during the World Championship final (in 2017).”
Sindhu will now meet Japan’s 20-year-old second seed Akane Yamaguchi, who defeated Carolina Marin 21-15, 21-18, on Saturday. Speaking about the clash, Sindhu – who has a 6-3 head to head record against the Japanese – said that she is expecting a tough game. “It is not going to be an easy match”. While Yamaguchi was a bit more analytic and admitted that she does have a chance against Sindhu.
“Sindhu is a very tall player; so she is very strong in attacking. In addition, she has got endurance power as well. So she can stay strong in long rallies as well. Having said that, I have become better at receiving and if I do well I have got a very good chance.”
The other semi-final will be contested between Chinese Taipei’s world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying and Chinese eight seed Chen Yufei. While Tai eased past Japan’s Aya Ohori 21-12, 21-13 in 33 points, Yufei saw off Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt 21-17, 21-12 in 44 minutes. In the men’s singles action, Chinese Shi Yuqi stunned Rio Games champion and compatriot Chen Long 21-10, 21-17 in 39 minutes.