Nanjing (China), August 3
Star Indian shuttler PV Sindhu avenged her heart-breaking summit clash defeat against Nozomi Okuhara last year as she produced a dominant display to beat the Japanese in straight games to storm into the semifinals of the World Championships here today. Sindhu defeated Okuhara 21-17 21-19 in a 58-minute quarterfinal match to be assured of a medal in the showpiece event. She faces Japan’s world No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi in the semifinals tomorrow in her bid to reach her second straight final. Yamaguchi had defeated Sindhu in the final of the Dubai Superseries Finals last year. This will be Sindhu’s fourth medal from the World Championships as she has already won two bronze and a silver.
In both the games today, Okuhara led initially but Sindhu was able to come back to take the honours. The Rio Olympics silver medallist dished out a wide array of tricks in her armoury — the angled strokes, flat as well as steep smashes, drop shots, net placement and strokes to the deep court of her rival. The win meant that the head-to-head record between the two is now levelled at 6-6.
After the World Championships final last year, they have played five times against each other, including today’s match, and Sindhu have won three of them as against two by Okuhara. Sindhu had lost to Okuhara in the final of the Thailand Open just prior to this tournament.
Marin ends Saina’s run
Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal’s impressive run came to a disappointing end at the World Championships as she suffered a straight-game loss to two-time champion Carolina Marin. In the men’s qurterfinals, B Sai Praneeth was no match to Kento Momota of Japan as he lost 12-21 12-21 in just 39 minutes.
The mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also couldn’t cross the quarterfinal hurdle, losing 17-21 10-21 to top seeds Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong of China.
The Saina-Marin match turned out to be a lopsided contest as the reigning Olympics champion again produced her A game on the big occasion to complete an emphatic 21-6 21-11 victory. — PTI