World Championship silver medallist PV Sindhu beat Chen Yufei of China in straight games to storm into the women’s singles semi-final of the French Super Series, in Paris on Friday.
This is Sindhu’s first-ever last-four appearance in the tournament. The Olympic silver medallist took just 41 minutes to brush the challenge of World No. 10 Yufei 21-14 21-14 in the quarter-finals.By virtue of this win, Indian had avenged upon her opening round loss to the Chinese at the Denmark Open, last week. Sindhu, who had defeated Yufei at the World Championships, now lead the Chinese 3-2 in the overall head- to-head record.
Sindhu was in her element today as she used her long reach and court coverage to flummox her opponent and get the better of her with consummate ease.
Yufei did not look her best today as she was undone by numerous unforced errors. Sindhu, seeded second, always enjoyed the upperhand in the duel, except for the first 10 points of the opening game where it was neck-and-neck battle between the duo. But once she surged ahead 12-10, there was no looking back as Sindhu controlled the game from there on with deft drop shots and down the line and cross court smashes to race to 18-12 lead. Yufei managed to grab two points but unforced errors cost her dearly as she pushed a drop shot wide to hand the Indian the first game in 19 minutes.
Sindhu, however, was slow to get off the blocks in the second game as Yufei took a 3-0 lead.
But the Indian managed to claw her way back, courtesy unforced errors from the Chinese to draw level at 5-5. From there on, Sindhu controlled the proceedings, except for a few unforced errors in between, to take a 11-7 lead at the break. The Indian then managed to hold to her lead and pocketed the second game in 22 minuts to wrap up the issue. Sindhu will next play the winner of another quarter-final between third seed Sung Ji Hyun of Korea and Japanese fifth seed Akane Yamaguchi tomorrow.
Earlier, HS Prannoy dumped Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in straight games to progress to the men’s singles quarterfinals late last night. Prannoy, who regained his career-best ranking of World No. 12 that he had achieved in June two years ago, took just 31 minutes to see off Vittinghus 21-11 21-12 to set up a clash with 2016 Australian Open finalist Jeon Hyeok-jin of Korea. Prannoy will face Jeon Hyeok Jin of Korea in the semi- finals later tonight. Eighth seed Kidambi Srikanth will also hit the court later tonight in his quarter-final match against fourth seed Shi Yuqi of China.
Young Indian doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, meanwhile, notched up a stunning win over World No. 6 Danish combo of Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding to reach their second quarter-final of the season. The World No. 32 Indian pair, who had reached the quarters at Korea Open, dished out a superb performance to shock the 2016 European champions Conrad-Petersen and Kolding 22-20 12-21 21-19 in a match that lasted an hour.
It will be a tall ask for the Indian duo as they face second seeds Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark next. However, in another men’s singles match, it was curtains for Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth after he lost 13-21 17-21 to Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto late yesterday