Nanjing (China): PV Sindhu beat Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in straight games to cruise into the semifinals and assure herself of a medal in the Badminton World Championships here, Friday.
Sindhu defeated Okuhara 21-17, 21-19 in a 58-minute quarterfinal match to set up a semifinal clash Saturday against World No.2 and another Japanese Akane Yamaguchi.
The World No.3 Indian produced a dominant display against her World No. 6 rival as she avenged her defeat in the last edition summit clash. In both the games, Okuhara led initially but Sindhu was able to come back to take the honours. The win by Sindhu meant that the head-to-head record between the two is now levelled at 6-6. This will be Sindhu’s fourth medal from the World Championships as she has already won two bronze and a silver medal.
It was the only bright spot on the day for the Indians as Saina Nehwal was beaten by Carolina Marin, B Sai Praneeth also made an exit losing 12-21, 12-21 to Kento Momota of Japan in just 39 minutes.
The mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also couldn’t cross the quarterfinal hurdle, losing 17-21, 10-21 to top seeds Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong of China.
The Saina-Marin match, turned out to be a lop-sided contest between the 2015 edition finalists as reigning Olympic champion Spanish once again produced her ‘A’ game on the big occasion to complete an emphatic 21-6, 21-11 victory.
“Her movement was very quick today. She was moving so fast and covering the court very quickly. The kind of shots that she played, it seemed like she was suddenly very fast. I didn’t understand what to do, she never gave me a chance to play my game,” Saina told reporters.
Marin played a perfect match to bamboozle Saina both the games. She won the first game in a mere 12 minutes. In the second, Saina gave a bit of fight till eight-all, but after that Marin smashed her way to 10 match points. Saina saved one, but then Marin closed it out with a steep cross court smash to which Saina had no answer.