India Open 2017: Sindhu Outclasses Saina Nehwal, Enters Semis
PV Sindhu displayed great skills to outclass compatriot Saina Nehwal 21-16, 22-20 in straight games to book her place in the semi finals of the India Open Superseries tournament being played in the capital.
PV Sindhu. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: PV Sindhu displayed great skills to outclass compatriot Saina Nehwal 21-16, 22-20 in straight games to book her place in the semi-finals of the India Open Superseries tournament being played in the capital.
The Rio Olympics silver medallist will now take world no 2 and second seed Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea in the last 4 of the competition. Sindhu recently won her first ever Superseries title in November 2016 when she won the China Open title.
"Overall a very good match... even when she was leading 20-19, I still had the belief that I could pull through, I can do it," Sindhu told reporters.
"Sindhu-Saina is not a new rivalry... rivalry is always there on court but off court we are normal friends. I didn't feel any pressure. I don't know about her.
"Saina is not someone special that I have to win against her. Against each player, I will give 100 percent, said Sindhu."
The first game saw both the players go neck and neck in the initial stages but Sindhu opened a big gap and took a 14-9 lead by winning point son the trot. Saina Nehwal tried to stem the rot by by winning a few points but Sindhu with her faster on court movement, longer reach and better net play made it 17-11 soon.
Nehwal, the 2015 Indian Open champion, fought her way back with a spurt of aggressive shots and made it 16-19. PV Sindhu, the Rio Olympics silver medallist, though closed out the opening game 21-16 to draw first blood in the high intensity encounter.
Saina Nehwal stormed back in the second game and opened up a 4-1 lead in front of a boisterous crowd at the Siri Fort Complex, which was rooting for the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
But Sindhu with her new found confidence was not to be denied as she won back a few points and closed the gap to a single point with a reflex cross-court backhand and made it 3-4. Saina though produced a string of aggressive smashes to get back her two=point cushion as she made it 7-5 and then again 8-6.
Sindhu missed a crucial net point as she failed to return back a drop shot from Saina to go down 7-10, and the London Olympic bronze medallist opened up a four-point lead with a neatly executed drop shot that left Sindhu flat footed.
Saina Nehwal opened up a five-point lead at 12-7, but Sindhu made a mini come back by winning two points on the trot. Saina though kept her aggressive ways and hit a smash straight into Sindhu's body to make it 13-8.
Sindhu made the most of a few unforced errors from Saina to close the gap back to two points and made it 12-14, but the senior pro made it 16-12 with two back to back smashes as the crowed cheered to some vintage Saina magic.
Sindhu then took three points on the trot to close the gap to 15-16, but Saina pulled away yet again to make it 18-15. Saina made the most of a few unforced errors from Sindhu to pull away yet against took a 19-16 lead, but a persistent Sindhu kept her cool to tie the game at 19-19.
Saina then produced a brilliant smash straight into Sindhu's body to take game point at 20-19 but nerves got the better of her as she hit her serve straight into the net as the match was tied on 20-20.
Sindhu took the match point when her lob was found the touchline after Saina decided to let the shuttle drop thinking it would go wide. Sindhu then wrapped up the match with a classic down the line smash.
In the semi-final, Sindhu will face South Korean second seed Sung ji Hyun, who defeated former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 21-16, 22-20.
The other semi-final will be fought between Top seed and 2016 Olympic champion Carolina Marin and Japanese fourth seed Akane Yamaguchi.
Spaniard Marin won against Japanese Minatsu Mitani 21-10, 20-22, 21-14 to set-up a clash against another Japanese. Yamaguchi got the better of compatriot seventh seed Nozomi Okuhara 21-13, 11-21, 21-18.
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