India’s P V Sindhu defeated Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min in straight games in the semifinals of the Spain Masters, a BWF World Tour Super 300 event, in Madrid on Saturday.
Second-seeded Sindhu won 24-22, 22-20 against Yeo in 48 minutes to reach her first final this season. Sindhu will face Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung in Sunday’s summit clash. Fifth-seeded Tunjung defeated top seed and home favourite Carolina Marin 10-21, 21-15, 21-10 in the second semifinal.
Sindhu went into the contest with a 3-0 head-to-head advantage but it was Yeo who went into the mid-game break of the opener with a slender two-point lead before extending the gap to four points (14-10).
Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist and former World Champion, did well to reduce Yeo’s lead back to two points (14-16). However, the shuttler from Singapore grabbed three of the next four points.
At 20-15, Yeo had five game points. Sindhu saved the first one with a down-the-line smash before her opponent hit the same shot wide twice in the following rallies. An error in judgement from Yeo on Sindhu’s lift and a body smash from the Indian restored parity at 20.
The Singapore shuttler earned another opportunity to clinch the opener with a delightful cross-court drop shot after a long rally but Sindhu saved it with the same shot in the next iteration. The Indian was forced to save another game point before Yeo hit a cross-court smash wide and a netted a drop shot to hand the opener to Sindhu.
Carrying the momentum into the second game, Sindhu went into the break with an 11-6 lead. However, Yeo managed to reduce the deficit to one by winning five of the next six points before making it 14-all. The Indian seemed to have made a decisive move by moving ahead at 17-14 with the last of those points leaving her opponent on her knees. After receiving medical treatment on her right knee for a cut, Yeo went on a run of four straight points. Sindhu followed Yeo’s four-point streak with a three-point one of her own.
Sindhu thought a cross-court return from Yeo had landed wide and celebrated, thinking she had booked her spot in the final but to her surprise, the umpire called it ‘in’ and while the decision seemed to be contentious, the Indian could not ask for it to be reviewed as she had wasted both of her challenges a few minutes earlier.
A netted return from Sindhu made it 20-all but her opponent from Singapore drove one wide to provide her a third match-point chance. Sindhu did not have to do much as Yeo drove a return into the net to end the proceedings.