Asian Games Badminton: Sindhu soars into final

P. V. Sindhu registered a hard-fought 21-17, 15-21, 21-10 win over Akane Yamaguchi to storm into the final, where she will face Tai Tzu Ying, while Saina Nehwal settled for the bronze medal.

P.V. Sindhu will face World No. 2 Japan's Akane Yamaguchi in the women's singles semifinal.   -  Getty Images

Good morning and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of women's badminton semifinal clashes on day nine of the 2018 Asian Games. India's 36-year-long wait for a badminton singles medal at the Asian Games came to an end on Sunday when Saina Nehwal and P. V. Sindhu stormed into the semifinals, assuring the nation of two bronze medals.

All eyes will be on Sindhu to see whether she could make the summit clash. Sindhu has a superior 8-4 head-to-head record over the World No. 2 Yamaguchi.

P. V. Sindhu vs Akane Yamaguchi

Sindhu becomes the first Indian to reach the badminton finals at the Asian Games. She registers a hard-fought 21-17, 15-21, 21-10 win over Akane Yamaguchi to storm into the final, where she will face Tai Tzu Ying.

21-10: Sindhu wraps up the tie with a colossal smash to book her spot in the final.

20-10: MATCH POINT FOR SINDHU!

17-10: Sindhu is all of four points away from the final!

16-8: Sindhu sends Yamaguchi from one corner to the other and the Jap is now showing signs of fatigue. Sindhu enjoys a eight point lead.

14-8: And that's a six point lead! Another Yamaguchi unforced error, another point for Sindhu.

11-7: Sindhu easing ahead. All she has to do is hold on to her momentum now.

10-5: WHAT. A. RALLY. Both players threw everything  but it's Sindhu who wins the point.

8-4: Yamaguchi's unforced errors are proving to be very costly here. Sindhu back to a four-point cushion.

6-3: That's just raw power. Big smash from Sindhu to soar to a three-point lead.

4-3 Yamaguchi wastes a simple smash opportunity and drags her shot wide.

2-1: Yamaguchi makes an unforced error after a scintillating rally to put Sindhu in the lead

Third game begins

15-21: And she takes the second game. Yamaguchi fights back from being 6-10 down to clinch the second game and push the tie to a deciding third game.

15-18: Sindhu attacks Yamaguchi's backhand to claim claim another point. The game is precariously placed, Yamaguchi needs all of three points to win the second game.

14-16: That's big! Sindhu with another trademark forehand smash to reduce the deficit

12-15: Oh my, what a point! Yamaguchi sneaks a return from the tightest of angles and Sindhu's return goes wide to further extend the Japanese shuttler's lead.

12-14: Sindhu's attempt sails past the line

11-12: Commentator's curse. Yamaguchi's streak comes to an end after Sindhu sends a thunderous smash.

10-12: That's Yamaguchi's sixth consecutive point!

10-11: Yamaguchi takes the lead ahead of the lemonbreak.

10-10: COMEBACK! Yamaguchi claims four successive points to claw her way back into the second set
 
10-6: Sindhu keeps the rally short, takes the fight to her opponent and further extends her lead

7-5: What a rally! Yamaguchi just manages to clip the line to break Sindhu's streak

6-4: Yamaguchi's unforced errors continue as her attempt find the net again

4-3: HUGE! Sindhu unleashes a massive smash straight at Yamaguchi to clinch the point

3-2: Yamaguchi fails to find the court, Sindhu takes the lead

Second game begins

21-17: Yamaguchi's smash goes wide as Sindhu clinches the first game.

20-15: Sindhu forces the unforced error and is now has five game points

18-15: Sindhu times her lob to perfection to inch closer to sealing the first game

17-15 What a hit! Yamaguchi works her way back into the game with a huge smash

17-12: An unforced error from Yamaguchi extends Sidhu's lead to five points

15-12: Yamaguchi with two back to back points now.

14-9: Sindhu now has a five point lead. Can she hold on to the momentum?

12-9 Sindhu fires a huge forehand down the line smash to extend her lead

11-8 We stand corrected! Yamaguchi finds the net and Sindhu now has a three-point lead!

9-8 This is has been an absolute rollercoaster of a game so far. Neither player able to take a healthy lead as such. Sindhu holds a slender one point lead now.

6-7 Sindhu pegs two successive points to reduce the deficit

4-6 A rare lapse in judgement from Sindhu. She leaves the shuttle assuming it's heading out but it falls well within the line. Yamaguchi with a two-point lead now.

5-4 Yamaguchi stretches wide but is unable to meet Sindhu's smash. She trails the Indian by a sole point

3-3 Sindhu's drop shot clips the net cord, scores are level

1-2 Sindhu claims her first point of the match as Yamaguchi sends her shot wide

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Tai Tzu Ying defeats Saina Nehwal 21-17, 21-14

 

REPORT: Saina settles for bronze after 10th straight defeat to Tzu Ying

Tai Tzu Ying has now won her last 10 matches against Saina. Talk about dominance over one player.

21-14 Saina hits it wide and just like that, Tai Tzu-Ying kills the tie! Saina will have to settle for bronze, India's first individual medal in badminton in 36 years!

20-14 Unforced error and that's the match point for Tai.

18-14 Four points reverse for Tai now!

15-14 Relentless shots straight at Saina's body as the Indian could only catch the net on the return.

14-14 Saina's backhand shot goes wide.

13-14 Saina's shot once again catches the taping and falls short of Tai.

13-13 Aaaand Tai levels things again.

12-13 SAINA LEADS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE MATCH!

12-12 Unforced error from Tai.

12-11 Superb low cross-court pick-up from Tai after stretching Saina on the rally.

11-10 Saina passes her shot on to the net and Tai once again takes a marginal lead at the interval.

10-9 Unforced error from Tai as she catches the net.

10-7 Saina hits it long.

6-6 Four points on the bounce for Saina as she smashes it down the line.

6-5 Lucky break for Saina as her smash catches the taping of the net before falling short of Tai.

6-3 Tai's pick-up shot catches the net.

6-2 Saina's forehand catches the net.

5-1 Saina's pick-up shot at the net fails to get over the net.

4-1 Another smashing forehand from Tai, straight at Saina.

3-0 Saina hits it wide.

1-0 Tai picks up from where she left off in the first game - on the attack! A forehand body smash.

Second game

21-17 Saina hits it long after a long rally and that's the opening game for Tai! Saina was quicker of the blocks today but Tai showcased her variety in strokes to get away from the Indian after the interval.

19-16 Saina judges it well to let Tai's shot go long.

19-15 Saina hits it wide.

17-15 Saina, this time, hits it long. Well judged from Tai to leave that one alone.

16-14 Another unforced error from Tai, catches the net again.

16-13 Tai's forehand catches the net and the lead is cut down to three again.

15-12 Tai with an unforced error as she hits it wide.

15-10 Tai jumps to a five-point lead after the break! Delicate shots at the net before the Taipei player hits a body smash.

11-10 A forehand cross-court and Tai takes a slender lead into the break.

10-10 A stunning smash from Saina after a loose backhand from Tai.

9-9 Tai hits it wide and the scores are level ahead of the interval.

8-7 Trading unforced errors now as Tai catches the net now.

8-6 Unforced error from Saina as she hits it against the net.

7-6 Tai's shot catches the net.

6-5 Saina judges it well this time as Tai's shot goes long.

5-3 Saina with another smash which Tai could only retrieve it onto the net.

5-2 Much better from Saina. A smash down the line from the Indian.

4-1 A cross-court shot from Tai completely deceives the Indian.

2-0 Tai takes the early lead. Tai slots it low to Saina after a rally.

Saina currently trails 5-11 in their head-to-head meetings with Tai. In fact, the World no. 1 ranked Taipei player has won her last nine matches against the Indian shuttler.

Saina Nehwal vs Tai Tzu Ying

LIVE UPDATES FROM DAY NINE

The medals could turn brighter over the next couple of days but whatever the colour, they will be the country’s first women’s singles medals at the Asiad.

Saina will be in action first up when she takes on Tai Tzu-ying. The Indian shuttler comes into the tie riding on a brilliant 21-18, 21-16 win against World No. 5 and the former World champion Ratchanok Intanon on Sunday.

FULL COVERAGE - ASIAN GAMES

World No. 3 Sindhu wobbled a bit midway through her quarterfinal against Nitchaon Jindapol, before recovering for a 21-11, 16-21, 21-14 victory.00