BWF Finals: PV Sindhu survives Akane Yamaguchi, storms into final

PV Sindhu had to stretch herself fully to notch up a nail-biting 21-15, 15-21, 21-19 win against the dynamic Yamaguchi.

PV Sindhu in a file photo, Image credit: Twitter

Double Olympic medalist PV Sindhu edged past Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in a thrilling women’s singles semifinal to book her spot in the summit clash of the BWF World Tour Finals in Bali on Saturday. The Indian badminton ace had to stretch herself fully to notch up a nail-biting 21-15, 15-21, 21-19 win against the dynamic Yamaguchi. The reigning world champion needed an hour and 10 minutes to grind down the dangerous Japanese player.

It will be Sindhu’s third final appearance in the season-ending tournament. The Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist won the crown in 2018 in Guangzhou, China, to become the only Indian shuttler to achieve the feat.

Sweet revenge for Sindhu against Yamaguchi

With this scintillating victory, Sindhu completed a sweet revenge against Yamaguchi. Just a couple of weeks ago at the same venue during the Indonesia Masters, Sindhu had suffered a straight-game defeat against the Japanese. The 26-year-old had come into the match with an overall head-to-head win-loss record of 12-8 against the Japanese.

Both Sindhu and Yamaguchi were neck and neck but Sindhu zoomed ahead from 15-14 to reach 18-15 in the first game. The tall Hyderabadi shuttler then reeled off three successive points to claim the opening game.

After the change of ends, Yamaguchi bounced back to force the decider. The two players were level at 10-10 before Yamaguchi gained the upper hand towards the end of the second game to wrap it up with an identical scoreline of 21-15.

In the third and final game, Sindhu and Yamaguchi were tied at 5-5 before the Indian player grabbed seven consecutive points. Yamaguchi reduced the deficit to just two points with some ferocious play. Sindhu raised the bar again to race ahead to a 17-12 lead.

Yamaguchi was not in any mood to give up and leveled the scores at 17-17. With the two still level at 19-19, Sindhu kept her cool and bagged two successive points to seal the fate of Yamaguchi. Sindhu celebrated her win with a loud roar as soon as Yamaguchi missed the final shot.

Sindhu to face An Seyoung of Korea for the crown

Sindhu will lock horns with An Seyoung of Korea for the coveted title on Sunday. The world champion has to raise the bar to get the better of the in-form Korean.

Seyoung came into the season-ending tournament with back-to-back titles in the Indonesia Masters and Indonesia Open.

World No. 6 Seyoung had also beaten Sindhu in the quarterfinals of the Denmark Open in October. The 19-year-old Korean has a 2-0 head-to-head record against Sindhu.

Disappointment for Srikanth

Earlier, Kidambi Srikanth bowed out of the season-ending tournament after losing to second-seeded Malaysian Lee Zii Jia 19-21, 14-21 in 37 minutes in his third and final group B match. It was Srikanth’s second loss to the world no. 8 Malaysian, who had defeated the Indian at Hylo Open in straight games.

Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy too ended their campaign though they eked out a hard-fought 21-19 9-21 21-14 win over England’s Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith in the inconsequential third and final group match.



WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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