Sindhu slays Wang Yihan to reach Olympic semifinals

By Tapan Mohanta Rio de Janeiro, Aug 17 (PTI) Two-time World Championshipbronze medallist P V Sindhu stood just a win away fromassuring India an elusive medal after she stunned London Gamessilver medallist Wang Yihan of China to enter the women’ssingles semifinals at the Rio Olympics here today. The 21-year-old Indian, who came into the match with a2-4 head-to-head record, dished out a compact game tooutmanoeuvre the more experienced Wang 22-20 21-19 in agruelling battle lasting 54 minutes. With the memorable win, Sindhu became the second Indianbadminton player to reach an Olympic semifinal after SainaNehwal achieved the feat four years ago. It was a battle of nerves as the duo engaged infast-paced rallies with each trying to close out the points.Some fierce stroke play was on display with the one havingbetter control prevailing over the other. In the opening game which lasted 29 minutes, Wang racedto a 3-0 lead after dictating the pace of the rallies beforeSindhu grabbed a couple of points. The Indian made it 5-5after Wang hit the net. Sindhu showed some good judgement andaccumulated points riding on her opponents unforced errors butWang still entered the break with a 11-8 lead. Sindhu, who had beaten Wang in the Denmark Open lastyear, grabbed three straight points to make it 11-12 but lefta shuttle at the baseline next. The Indian levelled par at13-13 when Wang hit it way wide off the court. Sindhu tried to make Wang cover the longest distance bypushing her to the back corner and then drawing her forward tothe net, earning her a few points. The Indian used her reachto play some reverse angled strokes to catch Wang off guardand grabbed the lead when Wang found the net. At 18-18, Sindhu won a video referral to get two crucialgame point advantage after once again Wang’s return buried atthe net. What came next was the longest rally which ended withWang winning the point with a forehand return at the back ofthe court. The Chinese then roared back when Sindhu hit thenets. Sindhu’s cross court returns set up the next point forher and then she earned the bragging rights when Wang missedthe line once again. PTI TAP ATK BSBS

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