Sindhu sets up semis date with Okuhara

Saina, Srikanth, Sameer ousted in quarters

Singapore, April 12

PV Sindhu survived a scare before making the semifinals of badminton’s Singapore Open, but Saina Nehwal was outplayed during her quarterfinal loss on a mixed day for India.

Sindhu emerged as the lone Indian survivor in the tournament after Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma were also ousted from the men’s singles. The mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy also lost later in the day.

Sindhu defeated world No. 18 Cai Yanyan of China 21-13 17-21 21-14 to set up a meeting with former world champion Nozomi Okuhara, who beat Saina. It is Sindhu’s second semifinal of the season, following a last-4 finish at the India Open last month. The second-seeded Okuhara didn’t break sweat on her way to a 21-8 21-13 win over sixth seed Saina. In the men’s singles, Srikanth’s struggle against Kento Momota continued as he suffered his ninth straight loss to the Japanese top seed, going down 18-21 21-19 9-21 in 66 minutes to end his campaign with yet another quarterfinal finish. Sameer Verma battled for an hour and nine minutes before losing 10-21 21-15 15-21 to second-seeded Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei. In the mixed doubles, Chopra and Sikki suffered a 14-21 16-21 loss to the third-seeded Thai pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.

Tough fight

Sindhu broke off at 5-5 in the opening game and pocketed it without much trouble. But her 19-year-old Chinese rival came back strongly in the second game, opening up a lead of 11-6 at the break. The Indian narrowed the lead to 15-16 before Cai marched ahead to take the match to the decider. In the third game, Sindhu surged to an 11-5 lead at the interval. The Indian star continued to move ahead and closed out the match comfortably.

In contrast, Saina fell apart against the Japanese star in a lopsided clash. Saina made several unforced errors and Okuhara jumped to a 9-0 lead in the opening game, and this was too much for the Indian to recover from. In the second game, Saina initially led 4-0 but Okuhara caught up at 6-6, and led 11-8 at the break. Saina then twice came within touching distance but never caught up with Okuhara. — PTI

SINGAPORE OPEN

  • Women’s Singles: PV Sindhu bt Cai Yanyan 21-13 17-21 21-14, Nozomi Okuhara bt Saina Nehwal 21-8 21-13
  • Men’s Singles: Kento Momota bt Kidambi Srikanth 18-21 21-19 9-21, Chou Tien Chen bt Sameer Verma 21-10 15-21 21-15 
  • Mixed Doubles: D Puavaranukroh/S Taerattanachai bt P Chopra/S Reddy 21-14 21-16 
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