PV SINDHU EN­TERS KOREAN OPEN FI­NAL

WILL MEET NO­ZOMI OKUHARA IN RE­PLAY OF WORLD CHAM­PI­ONSHIP FI­NAL

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - FRONT PAGE - Press Trust of In­dia sports­desk@hin­dus­tan­times .com

Olympic sil­ver-medal­list P V Sindhu de­feated China’s He Bingjiao in the semi­fi­nals to set up a mouth-wa­ter­ing sum­mit clash with world champion No­zomi Okuhara of Ja­pan at the Korea Open Su­per Se­ries. The 22-year-old In­dian had come into the match with a 3-5 head-to­head record, hav­ing lost to the Chi­nese at the Asia Bad­minton Cham­pi­onship this year. But that didn’t mat­ter as Sindhu saw off the World No.7 21-10 17-21 21-16 in a match that lasted an hour and six min­utes here. The World No.4 In­dian, who had won the China Su­per Se­ries Premier last year and clinched the In­dia Su­per Se­ries and Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold this sea­son, now stands just one win away from an­other ti­tle.

How­ever, it will once again be her World Cham­pi­onship fi­nal neme­sis and eighth seed Okuhara, who will stand in the way when they clash in the fi­nal to­mor­row.

The Olympic bronze-medal­list Ja­panese en­tered the fi­nal with a 21-17 21-18 win over World No.2 com­pa­triot Akane Ya­m­aguchi, seeded se­cond.

Sindhu made a ram­pag­ing start to the open­ing game as she rushed to a 9-1 ad­van­tage be­fore mov­ing into the break at 11-4 when the left-handed Chi­nese hit out. Sindhu made a few un­forced er­rors but she didn’t let it de­rail her game as she moved to a 10-point ad­van­tage and sealed it when Bingjiao once again hit out. In the se­cond game, Sindhu and Bingjiao were tied 4-4 ini­tially but the In­dian once again clinched a five-point ad­van­tage at the break when she un­leashed a body smash and then Bingjiao hit out again.

But un­forced er­rors by Sindhu and Bingjiao’s re­silience helped the Chi­nese slowly erase the deficit and make it 10-13.

Sindhu tried to en­gage her op­po­nent in fast ral­lies but Bingjiao man­aged to claw back at 15-15 with a pre­cise straight down-the-line smash.

Sindhu sud­denly hit a bad patch as two wide shots and one of her re­turns were buried in the net, giv­ing the Chi­nese a 20-16 ad­van­tage. A de­ceiv­ing re­turn on Bingjiao’s serve saw Sindhu save a game point but the Chi­nese sealed it next when the In­dian found the net again.

The de­cider saw the long­est and quick­est ral­lies as both the shut­ters looked to out­wit each other. Sindhu man­aged to lead 7-4 and 9-6 be­fore Bingjiao clawed back with three straight points. How­ever, two wide shots once again spoilt Bingjiao’s run as Sindhu held the ad­van­tage for the third time at the in­ter­val.

Sindhu moved to a 19-15 lead be­fore Bingjiao pro­duced a pow­er­ful smash to gather a point but the In­dian was in no mood to stretch it any fur­ther as she moved to the match point when Bingjiao hit wide again.

The In­dian then sealed the is­sue with a lucky net chord.

GETTY IMAGES

PV Sindhu.

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