PV Sindhu continued her good form at the BWF World Superseries in Dubai securing a semi-final spot with a win over Sayaka Sato in straight games yesterday. However, it wasn’t all good news for India as Kidambi Srikanth suffered his second consecutive loss to bow out of the year ending finale.
After Sato took a 3-1 lead, Sindhu was quick to win eight of the next nine points to put herself in the driving seat in the first game. Sato reduced the deficit to just two with four quick points but as the players took a breather, Sindhu held a three-point lead. After the interval, Sindhu was in no mood to let Sato claw her way back into the game as she quickly re-established a six-point lead as the scoreboard read 19-11 in the Indian’s favour. Sato could not find an answer to the Indian’s attacking display, conceding the first game 21-13.
The second game was much the same as after an edgy start, Sindhu started taking control of the game and raced to a 9-5 lead as chants of, “Let’s go Sindhu” echoed in Dubai. By the mid-game break, Sindhu had already accumulated a five-point lead. Following the break, it was sheer carnage. An unstoppable Sindhu just piled on the pressure as she took a 12 point lead to bring up match point. Even though Sato saved four match points, she couldn’t do much to salvage the match. Sindhu will now face Akane Yamaguchi in the last group game to decide who would go into the semis as the top seed.
As the match began, things didn’t look great for Srikanth as Chou Tien Chen raced to a 5-0 lead. But the four-time Superseries winner knew that a loss would end his chances of making it to the semis, and he fought back with four points of his own. However, the crushing smashes down the line were not yielding points as they were either wide or off the tape which resulted in Chen going into the break with a five-point lead. The lead was soon 10 points as Chen earned himself ten opportunities to close out the first game. However, Srikanth rallied back to cut the deficit to just two with a 33-shot rally earning him the last point. But that was as good as it got for the Indian as yet another unforced error gifted Chen the first game.
Srikanth started on the front foot right from the start in the second game, weaving his way to a three-point lead with the scoreboard reading 5-2. But just as Srikanth looked to pull away, Chen came roaring back and by the midway point of a game, the Indian led 11-9. Like a heavyweight bout, the duo kept swinging away, keeping each other at arm’s length as the score reached 18-18. And, it looked like it was 19-19 before Chen opted for a brilliant review to bring up 2 match points and needed just one to knock the World No. 4 out of the tournament.
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