Rio Olympics silver medallist and reigning world Champion PV Sindhu reached the semifinals of the women’s singles badminton competition-beating Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi 21-13, 22-20 in 56 minutes at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.
Sindhu, looking to add a gold medal to the silver she won in Rio, dominated her Japanese rival at the net, created points with her disguised shots, and completed straight game wins.
The 26-year-old Indian shuttler from Hyderabad was in total control of the first game and then quelled a strong fightback by Akane to reach the semifinals for the second successive Olympics. Yamaguchi played with great intensity but struggled with the drift going down the court from her end and made a number of errors. In the second game, Sindhu started strongly again and raced to a 14-8 lead.
She will next face the winner of the other quarterfinal between Thailand’s Ratchanok Inthanon and Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying. The sixth-seeded Indian came into the match with an 11-7 head-to-head count against the Japanese, whom she had last beaten at the All England Championship in March this year.
On Thursday, Sindhu had notched up a straight-game triumph over Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, 13th seed, in the pre-quarterfinals. She was the lone Indian in fray in badminton after men’s singles player B Sai Praneeth and men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy failed to qualify for the knockout stage.
On Wednesday, Sindhu had defeated world No. 34 Hong Kong’s NY Cheung 21-9 21-16 to top Group J. Sindhu is the lone Indian badminton hope left in the fray after the rest of the shuttlers crashed out.
(With IANS inputs)