Kuala Lumpur: PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth continued their impressive run at the Malaysia Open badminton tournament here Friday and progressed to the women’s and men’s singles semifinals respectively.
In a clash between Olympic silver and gold medallists, it was Sindhu who emerged victorious against arch rival and good friend Carolina Marin with the scoreline reading 22-20, 21-19 at the end of the 52-minute quarterfinal. She will next face top seed and World No.1 Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying, Saturday.
Earlier fourth seed Srikanth dumped World No. 22 France’s Brice Leverdez 21-18, 21-14 in a 39-minute clash at the Axiata Arena here. He will next face former World No.2 Japanese Kento Momota.
In both games of the women’s singles Marin was playing the catch up. In the first game Sindhu took a 3-1 lead with a sharp smash and continued to maintain it.
As has been the norm, Sindhu and Marin continued to fight it out as leads changed hands too frequently. The Indian finally grabbed a miniscule 11-10 lead at the interval after Marin failed to reach for a shot at the backline.
After the breather Marin took three points in a row to lead 13-11, but the Indian soon came back to lead 18-15. Then came Marin’s best stretch in the match as she reeled off five points in a row to lead 20-18.
A net error and a wide shot by Marin saw Sindhu claw back to 20-20. The Spaniard again hit wide and then found the net as the Indian pocketed the opening game.
The second game started in a similar fashion as Sindhu and Marin moved to 3-3 before the Indian surged to a 6-3 lead. The left-handed shuttler, however, soon levelled the score with three points as Sindhu committed a few unforced errors. Sindhu then reeled off five points in succession to lead 11-6.
Marin then escaped an injury scare as she got wrong-footed to retrieve a ball hit to her backhand. Sindhu continued to dictate pace and was soon leading 19-15.
A solid defensive play saw Sindhu grab three match points to lead 20-17. Marin saved two, the first when Sindhu netted a backhand and then hit wide. However, on the last match point she hit a solid cross-court smash to close out the encounter.
Earlier, Srikanth erased a 5-8 deficit to take an 11-9 lead at the break. He maintained it and closed out the game at 21-17.
In the second game, Srikanth and Leverdez fought till 5-5 before the Indian sped away to 11-5 at the interval. He then comfortably closed out the game to seal his spot in the last four.
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