Saina exits after a straight-game defeat; Kashyap goes down fighting
P.V. Sindhu on Friday made history by becoming the first Indian woman singles player to win a medal at the World Badminton Championships, defeating the host nation’s Shixian Wang to enter the semifinals at Guangzhou in China. She is thus assured of at least a bronze medal.
The 10th-seeded Sindhu got the better of the seventh-seeded Wang 21-18, 21-17 in 55 minutes. She used her smashes to good effect and hit as many as 19 winners. She will now take on Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the semifinals. In the pre-quarterfinals, 18-year-old Sindhu had upset the defending champion, China’s Yihan Wang. Sindhu, who hails from Hyderabad, is now ranked 12th in the world.
In 1983, Prakash Padukone won the bronze in the men’s singles in Copenhagen. In the 2011 World Championships in London, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bagged the bronze.
World No. 12 Sindhu, who had earlier also defeated Wang once in their only meeting before this, will take on Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the last four.
However, a world championship medal remained elusive for Saina Nehwal as the Indian ace suffered a straight-game defeat against Korean Yeon Ju Bae.
P. Kashyap, who was playing at the adjacent court, played out of his skin but still could not get across the world No. 3 Du Pengyu of China.
Sindhu relied on her smashes, besides hitting as many as 19 clear winners, in her match against Wang.
The 18-year-old Indian started to dominate from the word go. After being tied at 3-3, the Hyderabad girl surged ahead to open a 6-3 lead.
Determined not to lose the advantage, Sindhu kept on increasing the gap to make it 13-8. Wang, however, managed to bag four points on the trot to reduce the margin to 12-13.
But Sindhu regained her composure quickly to pocket three consecutive points.
Wang gave Sindhu scare one more time by making it 18-19 before the Indian eventually wrapped it up 21-18. In the second game also, Sindhu straight-away took a 6-2 lead before four straight points from Wang served as a warning bell to the Indian.
Tied at 6-6, Sindhu roared back with three straight points to move ahead and thereafter maintained a lead of at least a point or two.
Comfortably placed at 20-16, Sindhu wasted a match point before sealing the game and match.
“I don't have any special tactic against Chinese players — my coach has just given me tips and I’ve used that in my game,” said a delighted Sindhu.
A visibly dejected Wang said: “Her physical condition is very good, her long legs and arms. It was very difficult to deal with.”
Saina, the London Olympics bronze-medallist and a quarterfinalist in the last two worlds, was erratic and could not hold her nerves as she went down rather tamely 23-21, 21-9 in a 40-minute match.
Kashyap’s gallant fight ended with a 16-21, 22-20, 21-15 loss in an energy-sapping contest that lasted one hour and 15 minutes here.
Lin Dan in last four
In other action, Chinese superstar Lin Dan booked a place in the semifinals after overcoming team-mate and second seed Chen Long.
Lin's arch rival and world No.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia also sealed his place after a masterclass against Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto.
Lin will meet Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh who took a thrilling third-game victory against Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen, while Lee will take on third seed Du Pengyu of China in his semifinal.
The results (quarterfinals):
Men's singles: Lin Dan (Chn) bt 2-Chen Long (Chn) 21-13, 22-20; 3-Du Pengyu (Chn) bt 13-P. Kashyap (Ind) 16-21, 22-20, 21-15.
1-Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) 21-6, 21-9; 7-Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) bt Jan O Jorgensen (Den) 21-8, 17-21, 22-20.
Women's singles: 13-Yeon-Ju Bae (Kor) bt 3-Saina Nehwal (Ind) 23-21, 21-9; 1-Li Xuerui (Chn) bt 6-Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe) 27-25, 21-13;.
10-P.V. Sindhu (Ind) bt 7-Wang Shixian (Chn) 21-18, 21-17; 4-Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) bt Carolina Marin (Esp) 21-18, 20-22, 21-15.