P.V. Sindhu assured India of at least a bronze medal in the World Badminton Championships on Friday by defeating former World No.1 Shixian Wang in the women’s singles quarterfinals event in Guangzhou.
The World No.12 beat the seventh-seeded Chinese 21-18, 21-17 in 55 minutes at the Tianhe Indoor Stadium.
This will be only the third instance that an Indian will bring home a medal at the Worlds.
Prakash Padukone won the men’s singles bronze in 1983 at Copenhagen while Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa won another bronze in the women’s doubles event in the last edition at London in 2011.
Saina and Kashyap suffer defeats
The elusive World Championship medal once again slipped through Saina Nehwal’s fingers as the Indian ace suffered a straight-game defeat against Korean Yeon Ju Bae in the quarterfinals.
The London Olympics bronze-medallist, a quarterfinalist in the last two editions as well, was erratic and could not hold her nerves as she went down rather tamely 21-23 9-21 in a 40-minute match at the Tianhe Indoor Stadium.
Kashyap, who was also playing at the adjacent court, played out of his skin but still could not get across world number three Du Pengyu of China. His gallant fight ended with a 21-16 20-22 15-21 loss in an energy-sapping contest which lasted one hour and 15 minutes here.
Saina played an aggressive game in the opening match and opened up a 11-7 lead at the interval. Her baseline smashes got her a lot of points as the Indian was in control of the match.
However, Bae, who looked off-colour initially as she struggled with her strokes and reach, slowly narrowed down the lead and clawed back at 19-19. Saina was struggling with the drift as she lost a lot of points hitting wide. The Indian also faltered at the net.
From nowhere, Bae not only came into the contest but also exerted the pressure on the Indian and after a hard fight won the opening game when Saina’s shuttle kissed the net and toppled outside the court.
Losing the opening game dented Saina’s confidence as she failed to put any resistance to Bae strokes. Bae, on the other hand, was confidence personified as she played like a champion and decimated the Indian.
The left-handed Korean dominated the proceedings completely as after a 5-5 initial fight, she moved to the interval with a 11-6 lead. The Korean’s strokes were powerful and drops deceptive as she reduced Saina to a bystander.
National coach Pullela Gopichand, who was also monitoring the Kashyap’s match at the adjacent court, also could not lift Saina’s spirits at the break as the Indian completely resigned in the final moments of the game.
Bae, on the other hand, held her nerves and wrapped up the match quickly to seal her place at the semifinals.
World number 17 Kashyap opened up a 8-5 lead but Du clawed back and moved into the break with a two-point cushion at 11-9. The Indian then grabbed four straight points to wrest the lead and though Du caught up at 13-13, Kashyap kept his nose ahead to pocket the first game.
In the second game, Du zoomed to a 7-0 lead but Kashyap played a steady game and slowly caught up with the Chinese at 16-16 and turned the tables at 19-17. The Indian also had a game point at 20-19 but Du held his nerve and roared back into the contest.
In the decider, Kashyap marched ahead with a 9-4 lead but Du caught up at 12-12 and then turned the tables as he grabbed a 15-12 lead. The Indian tried his best to claw back but Du didn’t give any chance to Kashyap and sealed the match with some quick points.