Saina, Sindhu assure India of medals

Olympic medallists P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal on Sunday headed for a gold medal showdown at the 18th Asian Games.

Saina fell behind 3-8 at the beginning of the opening game, but found a way to beat the Thai player 21-18, 21-16 in the quarterfinal, which lasted 42 minutes.   -  PTI

It has been 36 years since India won a badminton singles medal at the Asian Games but Saina Nehwal was not ever aware of that.

“In fact, the other day we were discussing whether anyone has won a medal before. And since we were not supposed to use our mobile phones, we didn’t know anything,” said the Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

Well, there was double joy for India as both Nehwal and P. V. Sindhu marched into the women’s singles semifinals at the Asian Games here on Sunday and they are now assured of two bronze medals. 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.

'Fight till the end'

After trailing 12-3 and 16-10 in the opening game, World No. 10 Nehwal made a brilliant recovery to jolt Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, the World No. 5 and the former World champion, 21-18, 21-16.

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Nehwal almost gave up on the first game when Intanon took a heavy bunch of points pushing her to the far corners and then pulling her with deceptive drops, but there were strange things going on in the Indian’s mind. “At 12-3, I thought may be I should focus on the second game but then something told me, ‘fight, fight till the end, let’s see what happens’,” said the 28-year-old as she made a strong recovery, levelling at 17 and taking the first game.

'Happy'

Intanon was shattered and she was a very different player in the next game which made Nehwal’s job a lot easier.

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Meanwhile, World No. 3 Sindhu wobbled a bit midway through her quarterfinal against another Thai player, Nitchaon Jindapol, before recovering for a 21-11, 16-21, 21-14 victory. “I’m happy having come this far and I hope it is better, like a gold, here,” said Sindhu.

Meanwhile, Indonesia players continued their grand march with Anthony Ginting, the World No. 12, shocking China’s Olympic champion and Chen Long 21-19, 21-11 on the way to the men’s semifinals. Ginting had upset Japan’s World champion Kento Momota 21-18, 21-18 last night.