BWF World Championships 2018: PV Sindhu overcomes Okuhara to reach semis

first_imgPV Sindhu guaranteed India a medal at the BWF World Championships 2018 as she beat defending champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in straight games in the quarter-final at Nanjing, China on Friday.It was a 58-minute riveting battle between the two former world No.2s but Sindhu came out victorious 21-17, 21-19 to enter the semi-finals of the World Championships.By virtue of the win, Sindhu levelled with Okuhara 6-6 in their head-to head record, which has gone into a state of pendulum considering the way these two trump each other alternatively.Sindhu had lost to Okuhara in a classic one hour 50 minutes final of 2017 Badminton World Championships and then she had lost to her recently in the Thailand Open 2018 final but on Friday, Sindhu took control of the match from the word go and kept throwing variety of strokes at Okuhara to challenge her and eventually get the victory.HIGHLIGHTS OF SINDHU AND PRANEETH MATCHEarlier in the day, Saina Nehwal, Ashwini Ponnappa-Satwiksairaj Rankiredddy and B Sai Praneeth all lost their respective matches and therefore, Sindhu is the only one who will bring a medal home.While Saina and Praneeth were completely dismantled by Carolina Marin and Kento Momota in women’s singles and men’s singles quarter-finals, respectively, Ashwini and Satwik fought hard but lost to first seed Chinese pair of Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong.Sindhu has now buried the hatchet with the victory over Okuhara but faces a tough task on Saturday against Akane Yamaguchi in the semi-final. Sindhu is up against Akane Yamaguchi, yet another Japanese, yet another person who she lost a final to. Yamaguchi defeated Sindhu in the final of Dubai Superseries Finals last year and Sindhu will have to cross another big hurdle to reach her second straight final of the tournament.advertisementAgainst Okuhara though, Sindhu’s variety of strokes made the difference. Sindhu’s ability to take Okuhara around, get her stranded on the court won her the match.Those steep smashes, angled strokes, flat smashes, half-smashes, strokes to the deep court of Okuhara’s — Sindhu showed her complete arsenal of shots today.Super Sindhu!A stellar performance by @Pvsindhu1 as she beats Nozomi Okuhara to seal a place in the semifinals of #BWFWC2018. pic.twitter.com/GqLKVuAuWlPBL India (@PBLIndiaLive) August 3, 2018Okuhara began the match on a high note taking a 6-2 lead over Sindhu but the Indian smashed her way back into the match and levelled the score at 8-8.From thereon, Sindhu had the chance to take a big lead to break in the first game but a couple of errors meant she had a slender lead of 11-10 at the break.In fact by the time the break arrived, Sindhu had even lost both her challenges.After the break, Sindhu began to dominate the match as she was able to take Okuhara around, create tough angles for her and then finished it off with good angled strokes.Sindhu had two potent weapons against Okuhara on the day — steep down the line smashes and a flat push to Okuhara’s deep corner from the net. That helped the Indian take the first game 21-17.The second game starting in a similar manner with Okuhara taking a 5-0 lead over Sindhu. Sindhu started to make errors, giving some easy points to the Japanese.However, as Okuhara was poised to take a huge lead at break, Sindhu fought back brilliantly to eventually trail 8-11 at the break.Post the break, Sindhu mixed up her shots extremely well and got her attack well inside the court and took three straight points to level it 11-11.From there, both Sindhu and Okuhara literally alternated points with none giving each other any genuine space to work with.With the scoreline reading 19-19, Sindhu once again managed to get Okuhara to all corners of the court and kept varying the pace of the rally to get Okuhara wrong-footed.Eventually, Sindhu succeeded and with two straight points took the second game 21-19 and won the match.Just before Sindhu’s match, B Sai Praneeth lost to Kento Momota of Japan 12-21, 12-21 in the quarter-final to crash out of the tournament. Unseeded Praneeth was always going to have a massive task against seventh seed Momota and it proved exactly that. Even though Praneeth showed flashes of brilliance during the match, Momota was just too good for him.last_img

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