Sindhu stuns Carolina to enter Denmark Open final

Double World Championships bronze medallist Sindhu beat the second seed 21-15, 18-21, 21-17 in an hour and 14 minutes.

P. V. Sindhu will face 2012 Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the final of the Denmark Open. (File Picture)   -  CH VIJAYA BHASKAR

Indian shuttler P. V. Sindhu stunned two-time reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain to extend her dream run into the final of the USD650,000 Denmark Open Superseries Premier on Saturday. Double World Championships bronze medallist Sindhu beat the second seed 21-15, 18-21, 21-17 in an hour and 14 minutes.

In the final Sindhu will face 2012 Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China, who got past seventh seed Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea 21-8, 20-22, 21-10 in 56 minutes.

The 20-year-old Sindhu improved her head-to-head record against the 22-year-old Carolina to 2-3. Sindhu had earlier registered upsetting wins over third seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei and sixth seed Yihan Wang of China in the previous two matches.

Both Sindhu and Marin began the match on an equal footing before the Indian grabbed five points on the trot to cruise to an 8-3 lead before Marin closed the gap gradually. Sindhu, the lone surviving Indian, kept the lead as the two rivals exchanged their services for a while before the Indian took four straight points to reach to game point before pocketing the first set 21-15.

It was Marin who began the second set on a bright note as she took the early lead but the Indian fought back immediately to make it 3-3 and then 5-3 by winning four straight points. But suddenly, Sindhu lost her concentration as world number two Marin made it 6-6 before zooming to 11-6 by taking five points on the trot.

The un-seeded Indian, however, made a smart recovery to take the score to 16-18. But Marin kept her composure to take the next two points and reach to game point. Sindhu made a last-ditched effort by winning the next two points, but the Spaniard closed out the second set 21-18 with a cross-court smash to take the match to the decider.

The deciding set was a tough contest and at one time it looked like Marin would run with the game, but Sindhu made a brilliant fight-back under tremendous pressure to first close the gap and then zoom ahead to win the tie and maintain her rampaging form in the tournament.

After the score was tied at 5-5 and then 8-8 with none of the two willing to give an inch to the other, Marin inched ahead at 12-9 but Sindhu bounced back to make it 11-12. The Spaniard once again took three points in a row to be 15-11 ahead and it seemed that she would break free only to see a resilient Sindhu closed the gap to take the score to 14-16.

From there on, the Indian won six points on the trot to reach to the game and match point. Marin made one last try by winning a point and take the score to 17-20, but it was all over soon, as Sindhu bagged the next point to pocket the deciding set and the match.