BWF World Championship semi-final: PV Sindhu beats Akane Yamaguchi, sets up summit clash with Carolina Marin

PV Sindhu, who had defeated Nozomi Okuhara on Friday, was trailing in both games but made stunning recovery to make it to her second successive final at the World Championship.
PV Sindhu of India reacts after defeating Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in their women's single semi final match during the badminton World Championships in Nanjing, Jiangsu province on August 4, 2018.(AFP)
PV Sindhu of India reacts after defeating Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in their women's single semi final match during the badminton World Championships in Nanjing, Jiangsu province on August 4, 2018.(AFP)
Updated on Aug 04, 2018 08:02 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

PV Sindhu rallied brilliantly to storm into the final of World Championship with a thrilling 21-16, 24-22 victory over Japanese Akane Yamaguchi in Nanjing, China, on Saturday. (HIGHLIGHTS)

In a repeat of Rio Olympics final, third-seeded Sindhu will meet Carolina Marin in the title contest on Sunday. Two-time World Carolina Marin defeated sixth-seed Chinese He Bingjiao 13-21, 21-16, 21-13 in a marathon match. Marin has been laid low by injuries after her 2016 Rio Olympics gold but played brilliantly to reach the final.

Sindhu, who had defeated Nozomi Okuhara on Friday, was trailing in both games but made stunning recovery to make it to her second successive final at the World Championship.

Coming into the match, Sindhu had a 6-4 advantage against Yamaguchi but had lost to her at the All England semi-finals. It was Sindhu’s time to set the record straight.

It was Yamaguchi who showed intent in the beginning as she raced to a 5-0 lead. But Sindhu bounced back to draw close to 4-7. The ace Indian was working her opponent around the court and was quick to bring out her attacking strokes at the slightest of opportunity. Yamaguchi had a slender lead of 11-8 in the break, but Sindhu came out all firing after that.

From 12-12, Sindhu took six points in a row, showing her all-round skills to take a decisive lead of 18-12. Yamaguchi looked helpless in front of Sindhu’s changed tactics. The Indian varied the pace and kept the length tight, not allowing the Japanese to play her strokes.

Sindhu used her smashes to devastating effect while her retrieving skills came to the fore when she twice returned Yamaguchi’s smashes at 17-12.

The Japanese came back for a brief period but the gap but Sindhu quickly took charge again and take the first game.

After the change of ends, Yamaguchi, engaged Sindhu in net dribbles and again hit the right notes to lead 7-3. Sindhu fought back but the rallies were becoming longer and the Japanese led 11-7 at the break.

At 11-9, it was intense rally that was won by the Japanese. Sindhu made a few judgement errors on the line and Yamaguchi seemed to have the momentum at 15-11. Down 15-19, Sindhu once again went all-out attacking and played fearlessly to draw level 19-19.

Sindhu had the momentum and grabbed the match point after a long rally as Yamaguchi lost a net dribble. Yamaguchi saved one and eked out a game point but her service sailed long. Sindhu lost a second match point as the two players gave it all. The Indian was finally lucky in her third match point when Yamaguchi hit out.

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