Sindhu stands tall at Worlds


Rising shuttler P.V. Sindhu on Friday became the first Indian women’s singles player to ensure a medal at the world championships after scoring an upset win over local favourite Wang Shixian of China to enter the semi-finals here.

Playing in her maiden world championships, Sindhu, seeded 10th, had an easy outing against the world no. 8 and seventh seeded Wang.
The Indian took just 55 minutes to get the better of her fancied Chinese opponent 21-18, 21-17.
Sindhu will now take on Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, who got the better of Spain’s Carolina Marin 21-18, 20-22, 21-15.
Before Sindhu, Prakash Padukone won a men’s singles bronze medal in the world championships way back in 1983 in Copenhagen, while the women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bagged another bronze for India in the last edition of the tournament at London in 2011.
Against Wang, Sindhu relied on her smashes, besides hitting as many as 19 clear winners.
After being initially tied at 3-3, the Hyderabad girl surged to a 6-3 lead. Determined not to lose the advantage, Sindhu kept increasing the gap to make it 13-8.
Wang gave Sindhu a scare making it 18-19 before the Indian eventually wrapped the game 21-18.
In the second game too, Sindhu took a 6-2 lead before conceding four straight points to her opponent.
She though played her heart out, and sealed the game 21-17.
“I am very happy that everything went according to plan. It is great to win a medal in my very first world championship appearance, but I want to concentrate on tomorrow’s match and not relax,” said Sindhu.
National coach Pullela Gopichand said Sindhu showed great composure and maturity to handle the pressure. “She played exceptionally well and was in control of the match throughout,” he said.
Earlier, a world championship medal remained elusive for Saina Nehwal as she suffered a straight-game defeat to Korean Yeon Ju Bae in the quarter-finals.
Saina was erratic and could not hold her nerves as she went down rather 21-23, 9-21 in a 40-minute match. P. Kashyap, playing at the adjacent court, played out of his skin but still could not get across world number three Du Pengyu of China. His fight ended with a 21-16, 20-22, 15-21 loss in a contest which lasted one hour and 15 minutes.

Lin Dan powers through to semis
China’s superstar Lin Dan booked a place in the semis after overcoming team-mate and second seed Chen Long.
The first game saw defending champion “Super Dan” and his 24-year-old rival trade point for point, drawing on an armoury of high lifts, smashes and subtle drop shots.
But the game started to go Lin’s way after he leapt high in the air to drive home a smash to go up 13-10. On the next point Chen’s return sat on the net and refused to drop, gifting Lin — widely recognised as the best player of all time — a four-point lead.
A rampant Lin, 30, went on to take the first game 21-13 before slipping behind at the start of the second, but Chen failed to capitalise.
An enthralling encounter went down to the wire with a run of deuce scores until Chen sent his final shot into the net as Lin took the game 22-20, the younger player throwing down his racket in frustration.
Lin’s clash with Chen, who is widely tipped as successor to his crown as China’s top player, was his toughest of the competition so far.
Lin, the four-time world champion, has been on the sidelines for most of the past year to spend time with his family.

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