Two-time defending champion PV Sindhu stayed on course to retain her women’s singles title as she entered the semifinals of the $120,000 Macau Open Grand Prix Gold on Friday with a hard-fought three-game win over China’s Chen Yufei.
World No. 12 Sindhu surpassed Chen 21-13, 18-21, 21-14 in a quarterfinal match that lasted 54 minutes to emerge as the lone Indian survivor after men’s singles players B Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy bowed out.
A two-time World Championship bronze-medallist, Sindhu will next square off against Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, who beat compatriot Sayaka Sato 21-13, 13-21, 23-21 to advance to the semifinals.
It was a disappointing day for Praneeth and Prannoy as their fight ended with losses against Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat and Indonesia’s Ihsan Maulana Mustofa, respectively.
Praneeth, seeded 15th, fought for an hour and 10 minutes before losing 16-21, 23-21, 13-21 to Goh Soon Huat, while seventh seed Prannoy squandered a first-game advantage to go down narrowly 21-18, 19-21, 11-21 in 59 minutes.
In women’s singles, Sindhu stamped her authority early in the match as she zoomed to a 8-1 lead. However, Chen narrowed it down to 7-8 but the Indian was alert enough to soon distance herself from the Chinese, eventually pocketing the first game with a four-point burst.
In the second game, Chen showed her prowess as she opened up a narrow 5-2 lead and entered the break with a 11-7 advantage. The Chinese continued to march ahead after the interval and staved off the challenge from Sindhu, who kept breathing down her neck for most part of the game, to roar back into the contest.
In the decider, fifth seed Sindhu changed gears and didn’t allow Chen to get close as she led 7-3 initially and kept moving ahead to eventually close out the match without much trouble.