In a stunning comeback, India's PV Sindhu downed Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying in three games at the Jakobshalle arena in Basel, Switzerland.
After losing the first set in tame fashion, not many gave Sindhu a chance to advance to the semi-finals. The first game was an absolute whitewash, as the shuttler from Taipei went into the mid game break with a 11-4 lead and a ton of belief that she could win the match with ease. She capitalized on this confidence to finish the game 21-12 in under 15 minutes.
During the mid game interval, an animated Kim Ji Hyun, India's women's coach, was in eager talks with PV Sindhu. The details of the conversation remain a mystery, but it was the elixir that stimulated a comeback from the Indian ace.
An invigorated Sindhu returned to court, though her unforced errors showed that she was still a bit shaky. However, she led from the start and went into the interval with a two point lead at 11-9. Her thunderous smashes came to the fore as she used her most reliable weaponry to stay in touch with Tai Tzu Ying.
The game was tied at 20 apiece. Every Indian supporter was at the edge of their seats, rooting for India's golden girl in badminton. She had a game point at 21-20, but Tai Tzu Ying levelled the score at 21-21. However, Sindhu was drawing confidence from her coach who pushed her to finish the game at 23-21.
Indian fans cheered wildly for Sindhu and expected an easier third set as the momentum was with her. But that wasn't the case. Tai Tzu Ying rushed to a 4-1 lead and held the lead to go into the interval at 11-9. Again, an inspired bout of coaching during the interval turned the tables as Sindhu went back to her killer smashes to take the lead at 15-14.
Her smashes clocked an astounding pace of over 350 km/h. However, Tai Tzu Ying stopped Sindhu's run of points and rallied ahead at 17-15.
It was time for another Sindhu special as she held her nerve to take 4 straight points. She was in charge at 19-17 and Tai Tzu Ying's jittery nerves were evident. Though she was under the cosh, she levelled the match at 19 apiece. But, Sindhu was in no mood to let her comeback slip away. She stood steady to finish the game with some amazing interceptions from the centre of the court to win the match 12-21, 23-21, 21-19.
PV Sindhu's comeback was certainly one for the ages. But, the part that Kim Ji Hyun played in reviving Sindhu's broken spirit after the first game and her constant motivation to keep Sindhu focussed and confident was inspired! Her contribution was in no small measure the reason for Sindhu's win over an opponent who held a 10-4 win record over Sindhu, before today.