Sindhu seals fi­nal spot

The Free Press Journal - - SPORTS -

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-to-head 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 1721 21-16 in a match that lasted an hour and six min­utes.

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.

The Olympic bronzemedal­list 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 left­handed 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 44 ini­tially but the In­dian once again clinched a five­point 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 1515 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.

The script didn't change much af­ter the break as Sindhu con­tin­ued to lead even as Bingjiao strug­gled with her length and ended up send­ing the shut­tle wide and long.

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.

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