Makimng India proud once again, star Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu made her way to the finals of the World Badminton Championships.
The 2016 Olympic silver medallist defeated Chinese ninth seed Chen Yufei of China 21-13, 21-10 in 48 minutes in a superlative display to set-up a title clash against Japanese seventh seed Nozomi Okuhara, who defeated Indian 12th seed Saina 12-21, 21-17, 21-10 earlier in the day.
On the other hand, Saina Nehwal lost in the women’s singles semi-finals. Sindhu, a two-time World Championships bronze medallist, dominated her younger opponent from the beginning, not allowing the reigning world junior champion to settle in.
Sindhu played aggressively and overcame 19-year-old Yufei with her barrage of attacking strokes. In the other semi-final, 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Saina lost against Okuhara as she settled for a bronze medal.
After winning the first game 21-12, Saina, who is yet to regain full fitness after her knee surgery in August 2016, and looked tired.A Okuhara’s strategy of playing long rallies tested Saina’s fitness to the core.
World Championships 2015 runner-up Saina, who had a 6-1 head-to-head record against Okuhara coming into this game, started strongly, winning the first game 21-12 as the Japanese struggled to get into her rhythm.
The 22-year-old Japanese struggled with her net play and a few erratic line judgements to trail 6-11 which became 6-15 before losing 12-21. Okuhara got off to a flying start in the second game, taking a 4-0 lead but the 27-year-old Saina fought back and equalised at the nine-point mark.
Saina kept pace with her younger and sharper opponent but she got tired towards the end. At 17-all, Saina wasted a great chance to take the lead as she fired a smash wide right. Then, Okuhara claimed three consecutive points as she showed more energy and agility as a tired Saina failed to stop her from dictating the rallies.