China Masters: Yanjiao brings Sindhu's dream run to an end

Changzhou (China): Rising Indian shuttler P V Sindhu's giant-killing spree came to a halt after she went down fighting to world number nine Jiang Yanjiao in the women's singles semifinals of the Li Ning China Masters Super Series badminton tournament here today.

The 17-year-old, who created a flutter yesterday by beating Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the quarterfinals, lost 10-21 21-14 19-21 to home favourite Yanjiao in an hour and six minutes.

The first game lasted just 14 minutes and Sindhu was thoroughly outplayed with Yanjiao reeling off seven consecutive points to clinch the initiative.

There weren't too many smashes or delicate net volleys on display in the opening game as the two players relied on each other's errors to score.

File photo of PV Sindhu. AFP

In the second game, Sindhu roared back by taking a 6-0 lead first up. It was a marked change from the first game as Sindhu seemed more confident in her stroke-play whether it was the baseline or closer to the net.

The Indian took 23 minutes to eventually prevail 21-14, which included five smashes and an equal number of winners from the net.

The deciding third game went neck and neck to start with before Yanjiao took a slender lead owing to some unforced errors committed by Sindhu.

But the Indian came right back with a couple of powerful returns that took Yanjiao by surprise. From being 5-7 down, Sindhu took a 10-8 lead as Yanjiao showed signs of exhaustion in her stroke-play.

However, the home favourite was still 11-10 up at the change of ends as she exploited Sindhu's net game, which was a shade weaker than hers.

The Indian seemed more comfortable playing out long rallies from the baseline.

Egged on by the partisan crowd, Yanjiao overcame exhaustion pretty well to take a 16-13 lead.

But even though the Chinese was on top when it came to dictating the pace of the game, Sindhu showed that she had it in her to fight the tactical battle.

The teenager made it 18-18 but the experienced Chinese raised her game at crucial junctures to eventually prevail 21-19 in the deciding third game.

PTI