Basel: India's PV Sindhu is one win away from an elusive World Championships gold medal after storming into her third successive final with a straight-game win over All England champion Chen Yufei here on Saturday.
Sindhu, who had claimed successive silver in the last two editions of the prestigious tournament beside two bronze, was a picture of perfection as she outclassed World No 3 Chen of China 21-7, 21-14 in a 40-minute semi-final.
The 24-year-old from Hyderabad will face either 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand or 2017 winner Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the summit clash on Sunday.
Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, who came into the match with a 5-3 head-to-head record against Chen, grabbed the initiative quickly.
Hat-trick of finals! 💪@Pvsindhu1 maintains her perfect record against Chinese shuttlers at #BWFWorldChampionships to dismiss WR 3 #ChenYufei 2⃣1⃣-7⃣, 2⃣1⃣-1⃣4⃣ to advance to the final for the 3rd year in a row!
— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) August 24, 2019
The Indian dished out a compact game, producing angled returns to push Chen to the corners. Sindhu retrieved well and punished any weak return from her rival to dominate the rallies.
Sindhu entered the first break with an 11-3 lead after the Chinese went wide.
Chen continued to find the going tough as she missed the lines, allowing the Indian to gather points at will.
Another weak return at the net by Chen gave Sindhu as many as 14 game points. The Indian then sealed the opening game in her second attempt.
Chen made a better start in the second game and was neck-and-neck at 3-3 with Sindhu, but the errors again crept in her game as Sindhu moved to a 10-6 lead.
Sindhu exploited a weakness in the backhand side of Chen to lead 11-7 at the breather.
“It’s going to be a bit different (on Sunday),” said Sindhu, in an interview with BWF, after her impressive victory, adding, “I will give my 100 per cent. The rest I don’t know. That should be fine. There’s not much of strategy, because we know each other’s game, we play each other all the time. It’s just that on the court, every point matters.”
The Indian worked hard during the rallies, not giving an inch to her Chinese rival and was rewarded for her effort. Chen committed too many unforced errors in her desperation as Sindhu jumped to a 17-9 lead in a jiffy.
The Indian eventually grabbed eight match points with a cross court smash. Chen saved a couple before hitting long again as Sindhu celebrated.
B Sai Praneeth knocked out by Kento Momota
B Sai Praneeth's impressive run at the BWF World Championships ended as he succumbed to defending champion Kento Momota in a lop-sided semi-final to settle for bronze on Saturday.
Praneeth's attacking game couldn't dent the defence of an in-form Momota as he went down to the Japanese World No. 1 13-21, 8-21 in 41 minutes.
Notwithstanding the loss, Praneeth still achieved the rare distinction of becoming the first Indian male shuttler in 36 years to win a medal in the prestigious tournament.
Prakash Padukone was the first to win a men's singles World Championships medal — a bronze — in the 1983 edition.
Praneeth made a good start to his semi-final clash, opening up a slender 5-3 lead. However, Momota slowly found his rhythm and turned the tables by entering the interval with a small 11-10 advantage.
The left-handed Japanese stepped up after the break, reeling off four points to surge to 15-10. Praneeth couldn't find the winners regularly and committed too many unforced errors to allow Momota to widen the gap between them.
At 12-18, the Indian found the net thrice to hand over the opening game to the Japanese.
Praneeth was more competitive initially in the second game as he was tied 2-2 with his opponent but the Indian failed to lift the hard-hitting returns of Momota, sending the shuttle wide or at the net.
While Praneeth was erroneous, Momota was consistent and it reflected in the scoreline, as the Japanese quickly jumped to 9-2.
A precise smash from Praneeth helped him to take a point but he misjudged a shuttle at the backline and then hit the nets as Momota grabbed a 11-3 advantage in the mid-game interval.
Praneeth's struggle continued after the break as he couldn't put pressure on his fancied rival, who rode on his resolute defence to dominate the rallies.
At 15-5, Momota made a rare error when he sent the shuttle long but his quick backhand reflex near the net earned him the serve again.
A cross-court smash at Praneeth's backhand took Momota to 19-8 and he grabbed 12 match points when the Indian hit the nets again.
Praneeth then went wide as Momota raised his fist in celebration.
Updated Date: Aug 24, 2019 19:25:08 IST