Ten-time National badminton singles champion and two-time Olympian Aparna Popat told The Hindu that she was thrilled that 18-year-old P.V. Sindhu beat two World top-10 Chinese players to advance to the medal round of the World championships in Guangzhou on Friday.

“We used to talk about Saina Nehwal not being able to play to her potential in the Asian Games, World championships and the All England. It’s terrific that Sindhu has reached the World championships semifinals at a young age,” said Aparna, who dominated the national scene for more than a decade.

Aparna said the Malaysian GP title in May was a confidence booster for Sindhu. “She has been making waves, notching up wins against top class players, in the last one-and-a-half years. The Malaysian GP was a big step which gave her the confidence.”

Asked if Saina would feel a bit low, Aparna said: “It’s natural, she has been the trailblazer for several years now. She has to do something different and adjust. She has to learn from Sindhu. This can happen in professional sport. One has to learn and grow. Saina has been exceptional and India is lucky that it has two quality players in Saina and Sindhu, who is a star in her own right.”

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