PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medalist, advanced to the semifinals of the Thailand Open Super 500 event here on Friday with a three-game triumph against world number one Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
She defeated the second-seeded Japanese in 51 minutes, setting up a meeting with Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei of China.
The previous time the two met, the match was overshadowed by controversy, with Sindhu being docked a point by the umpire for using delaying tactics during the Badminton Asia Championships quarterfinals.
Sindhu entered the match with a 13-9 head-to-head record, and she delivered another strong effort to earn her 14th triumph over the defending Championship Winner.
In the first set, hardly switched places, with Sindhu relying on cross-court slices and drops to bother Yamaguchi, who wasted a three-point lead to allow the Indian to take an 11-9 lead.
Yamaguchi had five match points, only for Sindhu to respond with seven straight points to take a 19-14 lead.
Sindhu, on the other hand, sent the shuttle far before advancing to five game points and sealed it when an off-balance Yamaguchi sent the shuttle back to the net.
Yamaguchi appeared passive as her movements were jerky and her game unpredictable, enabling Sindhu to surge to an 11-5 lead at the break after winning 10 of the last 11 points with ease.
Sindhu scored numerous points by smashing her opponent’s backhand and then following it up with another cross court forehand.
Sindhu was summoned for a service fault after the break, and Yamaguchi quickly battled her way to 11-13 before going long. The Japanese made three solid strokes to tie the game at 16-16.
The Japanese won the game with a fast smash and a crisp on-line reply. Sindhu saved two, but stumbled on her serve and then threw the shuttle long, sending the match to a decider.
Sindhu led by six points at the mid-game intervals in the third game. Yamaguchi appeared to be experiencing back pain, which was impacting her play.
When Yamaguchi made blunders on her comeback to service, Sindhu led 15-11. The Indian quickly released her smashes, and then another punch-clear earned her eight match points, which she scored on the second try.
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