P.V. Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medalist, beat world number one Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in three sets to reach the Thailand Open Super 500 semi-finals.
The sixth-seeded Indian defeated the second-seeded Japanese in straight sets, 21-15, 20-22, 21-13, to set up a showdown with China’s Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei.
The last time the two met, Sindhu was penalized a point by the umpire for delaying tactics during the semifinals of the Badminton Asia Championships.
While Sindhu entered the match with a 13-9 record in head-to-head meetings with the reigning World Champion, she turned in a strong performance to earn her 14th victory over her.
Yamaguchi blew a 3-point lead to allow Sindhu to take an 11-9 lead, but Sindhu’s cross court slices and drops were enough to keep the Japanese at bay.
Despite Yamaguchi’s five match points, Sindhu retaliated with seven straight points to take a commanding 19-14 advantage.
In Sindhu’s case, the shuttle had already been sent before Yamaguchi’s off-balance shuttle sent it to the net for the second time, securing the win for Sindhu.
Due to her sloppy play and lack of consistency, Yamaguchi was outplayed 11-5 in the second half by Sindhu, who claimed 10 of the game’s final 11 points with ease.
With her backhand and cross court returns, Sindhu gained a lot of points against her opponent.
Before going long after the break, Yamaguchi battled her way to 11-13 before Sindhu was called for a service fault. At 16-16, the Japanese staged a remarkable comeback.
The Japanese scored two game points with a quick smash and a precise return on the line. When the match went to a decider, Sindhu saved two but faltered on her serve and then threw the shuttle long.
Sindhu had a six-point lead in the third game going into the mid-game intervals. Yamaguchi’s strokeplay was hampered by what appeared to be back problems.
You can watch the match highlights below.