Sindhu: 'One of the best moments of my career'

"This is Rio Olympics, it's a very different feeling. It's one of the best moments. I hope there will be many more to come," P. V. Sindhu said after her 22-20 21-19 over World No. 2 Wang Yihan.

P. V. Sindhu held her nerves in a tense match against Wang Yihan in the Rio Olympics quarterfinals.   -  PTI

P. V. Sindhu rated her >win over London Olympics silver medalist Wang Yihan as one of the best moments of her career. She hoped to maintain her good form against Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in the semi-finals of the Rio Olympics.

"This is Rio Olympics, it's a very different feeling. It's one of the best moments. I hope there will be many more to come," she said after a 22-20 21-19 over Yihan.

Queried about the pressure of winning an Olympic medal for India, she said: "I was just thinking about the game. If you play really well you will automatically win the game, and a medal. I'm just focused on my match and the next match, the semis (against Okuhara). I hope I can give my best."

Seven years younger to the Chinese, Sindhu trailed 10-12 in the first game and was 20-20 but held her nerves to win the next two points to clinch the game.

"There were big rallies, she was attacking well. My smashes were going out initially. Even she did not leave and she was lifting everything. I was really patient and I was ready for everything, which I feel was the turning point," Sindhu said.

"I never thought I would lose this, because any moment anything can change. It was not so easy to get points, both of us fought for every point. It was very close. In the first game it was 20-all and I felt even though I was leading I never thought the game was over. She came really close, even she played brilliantly," she added.

Coach Pullela Gopichand feels Sindhu can defend much better when she faces world number three Okuhara in the semifinals on Thursday.

Sindhu, who has a 1-3 win-loss record against Nozomi, has never beaten the Japanese since the Asian Youth Under-19 Championship in 2012.

"It was good (the win against Wang Yihan) but in my book she can do a notch higher. There's of course some chances of improvement in a couple of areas," Gopichand said.

Sindhu gave away six easy points at a crucial stage in the second game to hand Yihan a 19-18 lead, but the Indian did well to scrape through in a 55-minute battle. "She's been inconsistent a few times and squandered leads but I think it's all part of her learning experience. She's still young and has age on her side. I think she's a great fighter with great work ethic," Gopichand said about Sindhu.

"It was really a good match, a spirited performance from the beginning. Both the players fought well. Sindhu stayed calmer and finished off. She showed great attitude. She straightway got into a good retrieving capacity to negate Yan's attack. It was very close call on all the games.

"She changed her gameplan a couple of times and started attacking on Sindhu's forehand before playing counter net a couple of times. In the end, Sindhu responded well with some solid smashes," he said.