Sindhu breezes past Okuhara

India’s P.V Sindhu beat Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in straight games to cruise into the semifinals and assure herself of a medal in the World Championships here on Friday.

Sindhu defeated Okuhara 21-17, 21-19 in a 58-minute quarterfinal match to set up a semifinal clash against World No. 2 and another Japanese Akane Yamaguchi on Saturday.

The World No. 3 Indian produced a dominant display against her World No. 6 rival as she avenged her defeat in the last edition summit clash.

In both the games today, Okuhara led initially but Sindhu was able to come back to take the honours.

Sindhu had lost to Okuhara in the final last year 19-21, 22-20, 20-22 but this day, it was the India who got the upper hand throughout the match.

The win by Sindhu meant that the head-to-head record between the two is now levelled at 6-6.

After the World Championships final last year, they had played five times against each other, including today’s, and Sindhu have won three of them as against two by Okuhara. This will be Sindhu’s fourth medal from the World Championships as she has already won two bronze and a silver.

Saina Nehwal’s impressive run, however, came to a disappointing end at the World Championships as she suffered a straight-game loss to two-time champion Carolina Marin.

In the men’s qurterfinals, B Sai Praneeth was no match to Kento Momota of Japan as he lost 12-21, 12-21 in just 39 minutes. Mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also couldn’t cross the quarterfinal hurdle, losing 17-21, 10-21 to top seeds Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong of China.

In the Saina vs Marin match, it turned out to be a lop-sided contest between the 2015 edition finalists as reigning Olympic champion Spanish once again produced her A game on the big occasion to complete an emphatic 21-6, 21-11 victory.

A 5-4 head-to-head count meant little as Marin dismantled Saina with consummate ease. The Spaniard stamped her authority on the match, parading the court and screaming her heart out after winning every point.

“Her movement was very quick today. She was moving so fast and covering the court very quickly,” Saina told reporters.

The results: Women: P.V Sindhu bt Nozomi Okuhara 21-17, 21-19; Carolina Marin bt Saina Nehwal 21-6, 21-11.

Men: Kento Momota bt Sai Praneeth 21-12, 21-12,

Mixed doubles: Zheng Siwei & Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Ashwini Ponnappa & Satwiksairaj Rankireddy 21-17, 21-10

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