Sindhu stuns World No. 3 Li Xuerui

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Rising Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu continued her giant-killing spree as she stunned London Olympics gold medallist Li Xuerui of China to storm into the women’s singles semifinals of the Li Ning China Masters Super Series badminton tournament here on Friday.

World No. 24 Sindhu won 21-19, 9-21, 21-16 in a tense 45-minute contest against the second seed and World No. 3.

Sindhu was the more aggressive player hitting as many as 26 smash winners as against the 20 by the Chinese. The net game was a close affair as the Indian had nine points to her rival’s eight. This was Sindhu’s biggest win in her career.

Sindhu came into the match high on confidence, having got the better of World No. 14 and eighth seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand in the pre-quarterfinals of the tournament. The young Indian straightaway opened a 3-0 lead and then made it 6-1 in the opening game before the Chinese reduced the gap to 6-7.

Sidhu continued to maintain the lead but Xuerui used all her experience to make it 18-19.

It looked like Sindhu would wither under intense pressure from the vastly-experience opponent but the Indian admirably held her nerves to take the first game 21-19.

Xuerui, however, came back strongly and dictated terms in the second game. The Chinese was 8-0 up in no time and then extended the lead to 14-1 before making it 20-5. Sindhu won four straight points but it was too little and too late as Xuerui took the second game 21-9.

Despite being outplayed in the second game, Sindhu showed that she can compete at the highest level by winning the decider and wrapping up the match. She led the Chinese opponent all through the decider.

Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Akhilesh Das Gupta congratulated Sindhu on her achievement.

“This is a big thing for Indian badminton. This will definitely inspire a lot of youngsters to take up the sport in the country,” said Das Gupta.

Meanwhile, Ajay Jayaram came from a game behind to beat compatriot Sourabh Varma 12-21, 21-14, 21-16 in a quarterfinal battle.

R.M.V. Guru Sai Dutt, however, crashed out of the tournament losing to top-seeded Chen Long of China 8-21, 12-21 in another quarterfinal clash.

The results: (Quarterfinals):

Men’s singles: Chen Long (Chn) bt R.M.V. Guru Sai Dutt (Ind) 21-8, 21-12; Ajay Jayaram (Ind) bt Sourabh Varma (Ind) 12-21, 21-14, 21-16; Du Pengyu (Chn) bt Wang Zhengming (Chn) 21-11, 21-12.

Women’singles: Wang Yihan (Chn) bt Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) 21-15, 21-17; Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Mitani Minatsu (Jpn) 21-13, 21-13; P.V. Sindhu (Ind) bt Li Xuerui (Chn) 21-19, 9-21, 21-16; Jiang Yanjiao (Chn) bt Busanan Ongbumrungpan (Tha) 21-15, 16-21, 21-15. — Agencies

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