It was a sprint to the finish by P.V. Sindhu as she confirmed a place in the gold medal round with a 21-19, 21-10 victory over Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the women’s singles semifinal at the Riocentro Pavilion on Thursday.
In a thrilling climax, in which she was at her brilliant best, the 21-year-old Sindhu produced a flurry of winners — a backhand winner standing out — and reeled off 11 points on the trot after the two were tied 10-10 in the second game.
After the intense battle all along, when Sindhu managed to keep her nose in front against the probing Japanese, it was an unexpected bonanza for the spectators who were chanting India, India, India… as if it were a mantra!
Sindhu has the good habit of playing the shuttle on its merit rather than playing the reputation of her opponent.
She made a confident start and kept the lead for long, before the short-built Japanese caught up in the first game. At the crunch, Sindhu unleashed ferocious strokes that made the difference.
Even though she did tend to make a few mistakes, Sindhu stuck to her gameplan, answering all the questions posed by the Japanese, before stepping up on the gas and mowing down her opponent.
Sindhu did well to remain alert as she could have easily got carried away after the memorable win over Olympic silver medallist and World No.2 Wang Yihan of China in the earlier round.
With P. Gopi Chand providing the right guidance, pepping her up all the time and ensuring that she retained intensity and focus throughout, there was no doubt that Sindhu was easily the best player on view.
World No.1 Carolina Marin of Spain had earlier revelled while beating Li Xuerui of China with a 21-14, 21-16 victory.
The Chinese was bothered by a painful knee towards the end, but the Spaniard had gained a stranglehold over the match by then.
Sinchu will look to set the record straight against Carolina, who has a 4-3 win-loss record against her.
Sindhu had won the first two times, before the Spaniard won the next three.
Sindhu beat her the last time — at the Denmark Open in three games — before Carloina asserted herself in Hong Kong last year.
Past records will count for nothing when the two players fight for gold.
source by -: www.thehin.....