Hong Kong Open: Sindhu through to semis; Saina out

P.V. Sindhu fought off a mid-match slump to win a thriller against Singapore's Xiaoyu Liang 21-17, 21-23, 21-18 to progress to the semifinals of Hong Kong Super Series on Friday.

PV Sindhu Hong Kong Super Series

P.V. Sindhu fought off a mid-match slump to win a thriller against Singapore's Xiaoyu Liang 21-17, 21-23, 21-18 to progress to the semifinals of Hong Kong Super Series on Friday.

In a match that stretched to one hour and 19 minutes, the Olympic Games silver-medallist had a slow start, trailing the Singaporean 4-7 in the first game. She soon bridged the gap and zoomed ahead to take the first game 21-17.

The second game was evenly contested with both of them refusing to buckle under pressure. After a thrilling battle, Liang managed to grab the game and push the match to the decider. Sindhu, who won the China Open last week, dug up her reserves to finish the match 21-18 and book her place in the last four.

"I was leading but lost the second game. She (Xiaoyu Lian) played well. I was very nervous and gave a huge lead. I was 7-15 down in the third. My shots were going out, even the once I had to get," said Sindhu. "I was not confident in playing strokes. Even when I played safe the shots were going out. I didn't know what to play. After 7-15 I got confident. Liang is good, she has improved a lot. I was not up to the mark."

Fifth-seeded Saina, meanwhile, failed to cross the hurdle as she was stunned by unseeded local shuttler Cheung Ngan Yi 8-21, 21-18, 19-21 in a contest that lasted an hour and 11 minutes. The Indian had earlier beaten Cheung Ngan Yi at the World Championships last year.

Saina said that since the last two matches were very tiring, it became a bit tough for her today as she was still not 100 per cent fit.

"The last two matches were too tiring. I pushed myself but it was too tough for me today. I was trying but she (Cheung Ngan Yi) was a bit more alert in the end. I was trying to get my breath back and she was pushing hard," said Saina. "I had the feeling I could have won. But it is not easy when you are not fit. I'm not disappointed with the loss. I am happy that I am playing well after comeback. I could have played semis but when your condition is not good you can't expect too much," she added.

Meanwhile, Sameer Verma reached the semifinals of the men's singles after getting the better of Malaysia's Chong Wei Feng 21-17, 23-21 in just 47 minutes.

However, it was curtains for Ajay Jayaram as he lost his quarterfinal match to NG Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong 15-21, 14-21 in 32 minutes and crashed out of the event.