Sindhu reaches Thailand Open semifinals, faces Chen Yu Fei

Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu beat world number 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in three games to make it to the semifinals of the Thailand Open Super 500 tournament on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu beat world number 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in three games to make it to the semifinals of the Thailand Open Super 500 tournament on Friday.   -  AP

Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu beat world number 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in three games to make it to the semifinals of the Thailand Open Super 500 tournament on Friday.

The sixth-seeded Indian prevailed 21-15, 20-22, 21-13 over second-seeded Japanese in 51 minutes to set up a clash with Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei of China.

The last time Sindhu and Yamaguchi had played, the match was marred by controversy with Sindhu being penalised a point by the umpire for time wasting during the Badminton Asia Championships semifinals.

Sindhu came into the match with a 13-9 head-to-head record and dished out another fine performance to notch up her 14th victory over the reigning World Champion.

Nothing separated the two in the initial phase with Sindhu depending on her cross court slices and drops to trouble Yamaguchi, who blew a three-point lead to allow the Indian move to a 11-9 break.

AS IT HAPPENED | Sindhu beats Yamaguchi to reach Thailand Open semis, HIGHLIGHTS

Yamaguchi reeled off five game points, only for Sindhu to return the favour with seven straight points to move to a 19-14 lead.

Sindhu, however, sent the shuttle long before moving to five game points and sealing it when an off-balance Yamaguchi sent the shuttle to the net again.

In the second game, Yamaguchi looked a bit passive as her movements were not smooth and game got erratic, allowing Sindhu to jump to a 11-5 advantage at the interval after winning 10 of the last 11 points.

After the break, Sindhu was called for a service fault and soon Yamaguchi fought her way to 11-13 before going long. The Japanese played some good shots to claw back at 16-16.

A quick smash and a precise on the line return gave two game points to the Japanese. Sindhu saved two but faltered on her serve and then sent the shuttle long as the match went to the decider.

Sindhu went into the mid-game interval with a four-point advantage in the third game. Yamaguchi seemed to be facing problem with her back, which affected her strokeplay.

Still, the Japanese shuttler forced her way back to make it 11-13 but after that, it was one-way traffic as Sindhu won seven of the next eight points, earning eight match point opportunities in the process. She converted second of those eight to seal the game 21-13 and the match.

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