PV Sindhu has advanced to the semifinal of the Hong Kong Open after defeating Japanese player Akane Yamaguchi in women’s singles. In the next round, on Saturday, she will face former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in a bid to confirm her place in the final of the tournament.
The 22-year-old took just 37 minutes to end the Japanese shuttler's campaign with a score of 21-12, 21-19 in the quarter-finals. Yamaguchi was in great form after winning the China Open and having reached in three Super Series finals in the last five weeks.
Last time, the two met in Paris Sindhu was complete outplayed, but this time she came up with a completely different gameplan to counter her opponent. Sindhu won the net battles and quickly accumulated a 6-1 lead. Sindhu showed a lot of patience to finish off the rallies and at the midway point found herself leading 11-6. After the interval, she surged to an 18-11 lead before closing the first game 21-12.
In the next game, a lot of front-court exchanges were seen between both players as Yamaguchi tried to test her opponent at the net. It appeared to be working as Sindhu found herself trailing 14-10. Despite the four-point lead, the Japenese failed to close out the game and ended up conceding the game and set to Sindhu at 21-19.
"It was a good match and there were long rallies. After losing the first game she came back strongly in the second and even secured a big lead. But I still kept going even though I was down. All through I was telling myself, even though I was down it was not
Coach Pullela Gopichand, who was on the sidelines, guiding Sindhu during the match, observed that the Indian shuttler played with a lot of concentration.
"It was a keenly-contested tie. Sindhu played with a lot of focus and had a good strategy. She was a lot patient throughout. She is playing well and has a good chance of winning tomorrow," Gopichand said.
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