Hong Kong Open | Sindhu continues Superseries dream run to enter final

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Hong Kong Open | Sindhu continues Superseries dream run to enter final

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SportsCafe Desk

11/26/2016

PV Sindhu entered her second Superseries final in as many weeks with a straight-sets win over localite Ngan Yi Cheung in the semifinal of the Hong Kong Open today. The Indian dominated both the sets with some aggressive play to win 21-14, 21-16 and set up a final clash with World No. 3 Tai Tzu Ying.

PV Sindhu and localite Ngan Yi Cheung had faced each other twice before, and the Indian had come out on top on both the occasions. However, the Indian would have spent time studying Cheung's matchplay despite her lowly world rank after the World No. 26 had accounted for former World No.1 Saina Nehwal yesterday with her crafty play and stubborn defending.

Sindhu started the game with a smash down the line to get the scoreboard ticking. But, the Indian then faltered on the next four points to hand her opponent a 4-1 lead.

Sindhu recovered to take a 6-5 lead, but buoyed by the home support, Cheung re-took a 6-8 lead. In a see-saw affair that would continue for some time, Sindhu went into the lead thanks to an unforced error on service return by the Hong Kong player only to lose it immediately with an unforced error of her own.

The Indian managed to stay close to Cheung with her aggressive play, and in fact, went into the break with a two-point lead at 11-9 thanks to a string of unforced errors from the World No. 26.

Errors continued to flow from Cheung's racket as Sindhu went up 15-11 and soon she had set up game point with a simple cross-court drive capitalizing on a loose return by Cheung. The Indian then repeated a similar shot to close out the game comfortably at 21-14.

In the second point of the second game, Cheung showed glimpses of the returning prowess that saw her oust Saina Nehwal yesterday. Cheing dived and tumbled and produced off-balance returns, but she had no answer to Sindhu's final body-smash. Immediately after at 2-1, Sindhu showed some silky skills as she ended Cheung's aggressive attacking streak with a simple and subtle flick of her wrist sending the shuttle across the court into no man's land.

A couple of decisive netsmashes on consecutive points took Sindhu to 6-2, but Cheung produced her trademark jump-drop from the backcourt to take back serve at 7-4. That appeared to have given the local some impetus as she soon smashed her way to equalize at 7-7.

However, Sindhu held on despite Cheung's new-found aggression to go into the break with a slender lead at 11-10.

Despite Sindhu dominance, Cheung did not give up, and in fact, produced a series of acrobatic arching smashes at 15-11 to break Sindhu's defence and gain the serve. It was a lucky 50-50 drop that ended Sindhu's way that broke Cheung's mini-rally to 15-13.

Sindhu then continued to occupy the forecourt in an effort to curtail Cheung's wily drops and managed to earn match point thanks to a smash into the net from her opponent. The Olympic silver-medalist closed out the match, ironically enough, with a wily drop from the back that caught her opponent off-guard.

With the win, Sindhu has entered her second Superseries final in two weeks and only the third in her career. The Indian will face fourth seed Tai Tzu Ying, against whom Sindhu has a 3-4 head to head score, who ousted Carolina Marin in the other semifinal to prevent a repeat of the Olympic final.

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