PV Sindhu advances to the Thailand Open semi-finals with a victory against Akane Yamaguchi.
The sixth-seeded Indian overcame the second-seeded Japanese 21-15, 20-22, 21-13 in 51 minutes to set up a showdown with China’s Olympic winner Chen Yu Fei.
PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medalist, advanced to the semi-finals of the Thailand Open Super 500 competition on Friday with a three-game triumph against world number one Akane Yamaguchi of Japan. In 51 minutes, the sixth-seeded Indian defeated the second-seeded Japanese 21-15, 20-22, 21-13 to set up a match with Olympic winner Chen Yu Fei of China. The last time the two met, the game was overshadowed by controversy, with Sindhu being docked a point by the umpire for using delaying tactics in the semifinals of the Badminton Asia Championships.
Sindhu entered the match having a 13-9 head-to-head record against the reigning World Champion and delivered yet another strong effort to earn her 14th victory over her.
In the first set, nothing separated the two, with Sindhu relying on her cross-court slices and drops to trouble Yamaguchi, who wasted a three-point lead to allow the Indian to take an 11-9 lead.
Yamaguchi scored five match points, but Sindhu answered with seven straight points to take the lead at 19-14.
Sindhu, on the other hand, sent the shuttle long before reaching five-game points and securing the victory when an off-balance Yamaguchi fired it back to the net.
Yamaguchi was lethargic, as her moves were clumsy and her game unpredictable, allowing Sindhu to take an 11-5 lead into the halftime break after winning 10 of the previous 11 points with ease.
Sindhu smashed her opponent’s backhand and then followed up with another cross-court return to rack up many points.
Sindhu was summoned for a service fault after the break, and Yamaguchi battled her way to 11-13 before going long. The Japanese made some solid shots to tie the game at 16-16.
The Japanese scored two game points thanks to a fast smash and a perfect on-line return. Sindhu saved two points but stumbled on her serve, sending the shuttle long in the decider.
Sindhu led by six points at the mid-game intermissions in the third game. Yamaguchi appeared to be having back problems, which hampered her strokeplay.
When Yamaguchi made blunders on her return to serve, Sindhu was up 15-11. The Indian started smashing right away, and another punch-clear gave her eight match points, which she converted on her second try.