PV Sindhu vs Nozomi Okuhara, BWF World Championships Highlights: PV Sindhu Beats Nozomi Okuhara To Reach Semi-Finals

Women’s singles star PV Sindhu was the lone Indian to enter the semi-finals of the BWF Badminton World Championships, with Saina Nehwal, B Sai Praneeth and the mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa losing in the quarter-finals on Friday. Third seed Sindhu beat Nozomi Okuhara 21-17, 21-19 in 58 minutes. In both games, Okuhara was strong at the beginning but Sindhu, soon, got in the flow and caught up with the Japanese. In the semi-final, three-time World Championships medallist Sindhu will take on another Japanese, second seed Akane Yamaguchi, who beat Chinese fifth seed Chen Yufei 21-13, 17-21, 21-16 victory in an hour and eight minutes. In the men’s singles category, India’s Sai Praneeth fought hard but went down to Japan’s Kento Momota in 39 minutes. Sai Praneeth lost the game 21-12, 21-12.

The last time these two met was in the semi-final of All England Badminton Championships 2018 in three games. Sindhu had won the first game 21-19 but lost the next two 19-21, 18-21 to bow out of the tournament.

Interestingly, all the three matches out of their last six encounters that Sindhu has won, have all come in straight games. Evidently, Sindhu will have to look to do the same on Saturday as well.

just like Okuhara, Sindhu cannot afford to be bound by the long battles that Yamaguchi will force her into. Sindhu showed a wide range of strokes on Friday to defeat Okuhara and the Indian will have to display a similar variety against Yamaguchi.

Yamaguchi is coming into the semi-final at the back of a 21-13, 17-21, 21-16 win against China’s Chen Yu Fei and her ability to fight out of crunch situations will give her a lot of belief.

Sindhu will need to believe as well. The failure of 2017 Dubai Superseries Finals final against Yamaguchi will still be fresh in Sindhu mind just like All England. In both these matches, Sindhu won the first game but Yamaguchi took the next two to snatch the match and those memories put Sindhu in a precarious situation.

Sindhu will need the mental resolve she showed against Okuhara in the quarter-final. Okuhara took the lead early on in both the games of the match but Sindhu kept her cool and stuck to her plan to take the match. This is what she will require against Yamaguchi.

For the past 2-3 years, opponents look to tire her in order to win matches against her. Rallies keep getting longer and the physically fitter players take the match. Sindhu will have to fight that mental block.

The win against Okuhara was a step towards resolving the riddle of the rally players in Nanjing only to land herself a stronger but similar puzzle in the semi-final.

Earlier in the day, it was the end of the road for World No. 10 Saina Nehwal as she lost to Olympic champion Carolina Marin 6-21, 11-21 in a match that lasted 31 minutes. In the opening game, Marin accumulated quick points to quickly race to the mid-game interval with a massive 11-2 lead. Saina, on the other hand, looked out of touch and failed to get better of her counterpart. The Indian also made repeated unforced errors, which helped Marin close the game at 21-6 in 12 minutes without breaking a sweat.

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