REIGNING world champion PV Sindhu continued with her top form at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday (30) when she beat Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi 21-13, 22-20 in the quarter-finals to storm into the semi-finals.
This is her second successive Olympic semi-finals after the 2016 Rio edition and the third consecutive Olympics in which India made it to the badminton semi-finals at the mega event. Saina Nehwal had made the semis in the 2012 London Games.
Sindhu, who qualified for the knock-out stage from Group J and defeated Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the pre-quarters on Thursday (29), defended her game brilliantly against Yamaguchi, placed a rank higher than her, and rode on her attack to outclass the opponent in a 56-minute affair at the Musashino Forest Plaza in Tokyo. Sindhu faced a tougher competition in this game compared to the previous three but eventually overcame the challenge.
The sixth-seeded Indian came into the match with a 11-7 head-to-head lead against Yamaguchi, the fourth seed whom she had last beaten at the All England Championship in March this year.
The Indian will take on the winner of the quarterfinal between Thailand’s Ratchanok Inthanon and Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in the semi-final. Inthanon is ranked sixth in the world while Tzu Ying is the current world No.1.
Sindhu is the only Indian left in the badminton fray after men’s singles player B Sai Praneeth and men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy failed to make the knock-out stage.