India Open 2017: PV Sindhu beats Saina Nehwal to enter semi-finals, Sameer Verma exits
Third seed PV Sindhu made a late fightback to beat the sixth seed and former champion Saina Nehwal, 21-16, 22-20 in a thrilling quarter-final at the $325,000 BWF Metlife Yonex Sunrise India Open Superseries 2017 at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on Friday.
The former World No. 1 Saina was leading 19-16 in the second game and looked close to forcing a decider when the Rio Olympic silver medallist pushed to level at 19-19 and then wrapped up the victory in 47 minutes.
In the men's singles section, giant-killer Sameer Verma's run came to an end at the hands of the talented 26th ranked Danish teenager Anders Antonsen. The Syed Modi International champion was the only Indian to make it through to the last-eight after his upset victories over the fourth seed Son Wan Ho and the World No. 15 Hu Yun in the previous two rounds.
But Antonsen proved a roadblock even though Sameer had a game point in the first game which he squandered for a 22-24, 19-21 loss in 53 minutes.
Sindhu edges closely-fought encounter
The women’s singles quarter-final contest between India’s top two shuttle queens remained even in the initial stages. It was at 7-7 when the reigning China Open champion brought her attacking game to the fore and made life tough for her senior compatriot. The Sindhu juggernaut rolled on till 15-9 after which Saina closed the gap to four points at 14-18 thanks to a couple of wild errors from the 21-year-old.
Saina eventually made it just a three-point deficit before Sindhu pocketed the opener 21-16 in 19 minutes.
Buoyed by the vociferous chants of ‘Saina, Saina’ from the enthusiastic crowd, the London Olympic bronze medallist did stage a brilliant fightback and was in control for the majority of the second game. The body smashes that she constantly directed at her taller and younger opponent, put Sindhu in a spot of bother.
Riding on some aggressive returns, Nehwal surged to a 7-5 lead which she increased further to 11-7 at the mid-game interval.
The tactics to throw Sindhu off her rhythm worked well for the 27-year-old and she soared to 16-12 in no time.
Sindhu, however, could not be kept quiet for a long time. She came back to make it 15-16 only to see Saina move up to 18-15 and then 19-16 due to a couple of misses from the 2017 Syed Modi International winner under pressure.
Just then, Sindhu found her winning ways once again. Firing her power-packed smashes relentlessly, she dashed Nehwal’s hopes by first levelling matters at 19-19 and then finishing it soon afterwards with a down-the-line winner that barely kissed the line.
Sindhu will next face the second seed Sung Ji Hyun for a place in the final.