After yesterday's hard fought victory, PV Sindhu scripted a totally contrasting win in today's semi final against Chen Yufei to the delight of hundreds of Indian fans at the Jakobshalle arena in Basel, Switzerland.
Sindhu was oozing with confidence from yesterday's win over World Number two, Tai Tzu Ying. Her smashes were on song and her body language looked completely transformed from yesterday's first set loss to the shuttler from Taipei. In fact, she seemed like a different player altogether.
The Indian ace sped to an 8-2 lead in the first game, with little resistance from the Chinese player who seemed quite lost amidst the blitzkrieg start from Sindhu. With smashes that nearly touched 400km/h and landed centimetres inside the side lines, Sindhu totally dominated Chen Yufei. This threw her Chinese opponent off her game and forced numerous unforced errors that added to Sindhu's already handsome lead. She went into the break at 11-3 with truckloads of confidence.
Truthfully it just wasn't Chen Yufei's day. Even when it looked like she finally hit a winner while trailing 3-13, Sindhu's challenge overruled the linesman's decision to add grief to an already miserable first game for the Chinese player. Sindhu then raced ahead to win the game 21-7 in under 15 minutes.
The pep talk at the interval from the Chinese coaches seemed to have a positive influence as Chen Yufei forced the longest rally(24 shots) of the match in the very first point. She kept in touch with Sindhu until the score was 4-4. Though she was playing much better in the second game, her failure to control the point and her reactive, rather than proactive, attitude on court gave Sindhu a distinct advantage.
Sindhu went into the break with a 4 point lead at 11-7. Chen Yufei seemed dejected after the break and did not look like a player who wanted to win. In fact, it wasn't until Sindhu reached match point that Chen Yufei played a couple of points that gave us a glimpse of what she is actually capable. She ended the match with a service that fell long of the baseline, highlighting that it just wasn't her day.
No credit should be withdrawn from Sindhu, who played a near perfect game. Her rifling smashes and quick follow ups near the net did not leave her opponent with much chance of a comeback.
Sindhu will face the winner of Ratchanok Intanon and Nozomi Okuhara in tomorrow's final. Both players are former world champions. Intanon won the world championship when she was just 18 and who can forget the epic final between Okuhara and Sindhu a couple of years ago in this very tournament.
Sindhu will certainly have her work cut out for her, but her determination and desire to finish on top of the podium should motivate her to bring her A game to the fore.