NEW DELHI: Rio Olympics silver medallist P V Sindhu today prevailed over Saina Nehwal in straight games in a much-anticipated clash to advance to the semifinals of the India Super Series badminton tournament here today.
In a high-voltage contest, Sindhu showed why she is considered the badminton queen of India as she notched up a 21-16 22-20 win over Saina in a 47-minute women's singles quarterfinal clash which was cheered by a sizable crowd who thronged the Siri Fort Sports Complex today.
The third seeded Indian emerged as the lone hope for the hosts after men's singles player Sameer Verma's gallant fight against Denmark's Anders Antonsen ended in a 22-24 19-21 loss in the men's singles quarterfinals here.
China Open champion, Sindhu will face second seeded Korean Sung Ji Hyun in the semifinals tomorrow. Sindhu has a 6-4 record against Hyun but the Indian had lost to the Korean in their last meeting at the Dubai Super Series Finals.
Saina, a London Olympics bronze medallist, tried her best to break the resilience of Sindhu but the young Hyderabadi was always a step ahead as she used her reach to retrieve the shuttles and also came up with some delectable strokes to outdo her senior pro.
Playing her sixth tournament after recovering from the career-threatening knee injury, Saina never looked in discomfort as she covered the forecourt well and played some exceptional strokes. After losing the opening game, Saina set herself well for a comeback but she served at the net and then misjudged a line call while 20-19 up at the second game to lose the contest.
"Overall it was a very good match. She was leading from the beginning but I always believed in myself. I did not leave any shuttle. Even when Saina was leading 20-19, I still had the belief that I could pull through. I can do it," said Sindhu.
It was an even battle early on as they moved neck and neck till 9-9 but Sindhu then grabbed a point at both side of the court to enter the break at 11-9.
Saina was left doing the catching up job after that as she left ample space in the court for Sindhu to exploit and also failed to curb her unforced errors. In the end, it was a point at the forecourt which gave Sindhu the bragging rights.