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All England Open 2021: PV Sindhu and Viktor Axelsen headline semi-final action

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu
Sohinee Basu
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 23 Mar 2021
Feature

Putting up a gritty fight, PV Sindhu overcame Japan's Akane Yamaguchi 16-21, 21-16, 21-19 to enter the semi-finals of the All England Open 2021. Being the only Indian shuttler left in the fray, the fifth seed will have the entire country's medal hopes on her shoulders.

The semi-finals of the All England Open 2021 promise to be action-packed with a stellar line-up. Defending champion Viktor Axelsen takes on his arch-rival Anders Antonsen, while Lee Zii Jia will clash with Mark Caljouw in the other men's singles semi-final.

Some high-octane badminton action is expected on the women's side as well, with Nozomi Okuhara setting up a date with the fourth-seeded Ratchanok Intanon at the All England Open 2021.

Here's the schedule for the semi-finals of the All England Open 2021:

Men's Singles

Lee Zii Jia [6] v Mark Caljouw - Approx 8:00 PM IST

Viktor Axelsen [2] v Anders Antonsen [3] - Approx 9:30 PM IST

Women's Singles

PV Sindhu [5] v Pornpawee Chochuwong [6] - Approx 5:00 PM IST

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Ratchanok Intanon [4] v Nozomi Okuhara [2] - Approx 6:00 PM IST

PV Sindhu looking to enter the All England Open final for the first time

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu

PV Sindhu looked like she meant business as she came back from a game down to rally past third-seed Akane Yamaguchi and book her semi-final berth. With that win, PV Sindhu has equalled her best performance at the All England Open so far. The Hyderabadi had been a semi-finalist at Birmingham in 2018, where she went down fighting to Akane Yamaguchi.

Up next for her is the World No. 11 Pornpawee Chochuwong, against whom she has a 4-1 record. Their most recent meeting came at the BWF World Tour Finals 2020 (played in January 2021), where PV Sindhu defeated the Thai youngster, 21-18, 21-15. Sindhu will look to draw inspiration from that win and continue her dream run at the All England Open 2021.

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In the other semi-final of the day, the second-seeded Nozomi Okuhara will take on Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon. The rivalry between the duo has been one for the ages and as they clash once again at the All England Open 2021, fireworks are expected. Okuhara does have a slight edge over Intanon on paper though, as she leads 9-6 in their head-to-head.

Axelsen hoping to stay on track to defend his All England Open title

Viktor Axelsen
Viktor Axelsen

In an all-Danish clash, defending champion Viktor Axelsen takes on Anders Antonsen. So far, they have split their 6 meetings equally, having won 3 times each. The third-seeded Antonsen shocked Axelsen 21-16, 5-21, 21-17 in their most recent meeting at the BWF World Tour Finals this January.

However, being the defending champion, Axelsen will have the advantage at the All England Open 2021. In their only showdown at this tournament, Axelsen registered a 21-13, 21-9 win over Antonsen four years ago.

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In the other semi-final, the 22-year-old Malaysian Lee Zii Jia will lock horns with the Netherlands' Mark Caljouw. The sixth-seeded Zii Jia pulled off a massive upset at the All England Open on Thursday by knocking out the World No. 1 Kento Momota 21-16, 21-19.

Riding high on that victory, Zii Jia is expected to put up a tough fight against the 26-year-old Caljouw, who needed 55 minutes to battle past a determined Lakshya Sen.

Published 20 Mar 2021, 14:55 IST
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