Denmark Open: PV Sindhu stuns World Champion Carolina Marin to reach final

Odense, Denmark: Ace Indian shuttler P V Sindhu on Saturday made it to her maiden Super Series final with a stunning upset victory over reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the Denmark Open here.

The unseeded Indian beat the world number two and All England champion Marin 21-15 18-21 21-17 in a closely-fought semifinal that lasted one hour and 14 minutes at Odense Sports Park in the $650,000 Super Series Premier event.

This was 20-year-old Hyderabadi’s first win against Marin in their last four outings.

Sindhu, a twice bronze medallist in World Championships, will now take on former world number one and reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui — ranked fourth in the tournament — of China in the summit clash on Sunday.

Xuerui had beaten Korean seventh seed Sung Ji Hyun 21-8 20-22 21-10 in the other semifinal.

Sindhu had never gone past the semifinals in the Super Series or Super Series Premier events.

Both Sindhu and Marin began the match on an equal footing before the Indian grabbed five points on the trot to cruise to a 8-3 lead before Marin closed the gap gradually.
Sindhu, the lone surviving Indian, kept the lead as the two rivals exchanged their services for a while before the Indian took four straight points to reach to game point before pocketing the first set 21-15.

It was Marin who began the second set on a bright note as she took the early lead but the Indian fought back immediately
to make it 3-3 and then 5-3 by winning four straight points.

But suddenly, Sindhu lost her concentration as world number two Marin made it 6-6 before zooming to 11-6 by taking five points on the trot.

The unseeded Indian made a smart recovery to take the score to 16-18. But Marin kept her composure to take the next two points and reach to game point. Sindhu made a last-ditched effort by winning the next two points but the Spaniard closed out the second set 21-18 with a cross-court smash to take the match to the decider.

The deciding set was a tough contest and at one time it looked like Marin would run away as winner but Sindhu made a brilliant fightback under tremendous pressure to first close the gap and then zoomed ahead to win the tie and maintained her rampaging form in the tournament.

After the score was tied at 5-5 and then 8-8 with none of the two willing to give an inch to the other, Marin inched ahead at 12-9 but Sindhu bounced back to make it 11-12.

The Spaniard once again took three points in a row to be 15-11 ahead and it seemed that she would break free only to see a resilient Sindhu closed the gap to take the score to 14-16.

From there on, the Indian won six points on the trot to reach to the game and match point. Marin made a one last try by winning a point and take the score to 17-20 but it was all over soon as Sindhu bagged the next point to pocket the deciding set and the match.

Earlier in the quarterfinals, Sindhu had beaten former world number one Wang Yihan of China in straight games.

Sindhu, who had lost to Yihan — a 2011 World Champion and silver medallist at 2012 London Olympics — four times in the past, dished out a 21-18 21-19 win over the sixth seed Chinese.

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