August 2018
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BWF World Championships: PV Sindhu enters semi-finals, Saina Nehwal exits
(HYDERABAD, Aug 03, 2018):On a day when top seeds tumbled, defending champions faltered, a 117-stroke rally enthralled the fans, PV Sindhu ensured a World Championships medal for India.

Saina Nehwal, Sai Praneeth and mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Ranki Reddy lost but Sindhu dethroned Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a clinical fashion 21-17, 21-19 to storm into the semi-finals.

"I am happy with my performance but it is not over yet. Tomorrow it is the semifinal and I have to play another Japanese girl. I have to be very much prepared and rest now. I have to come back strong against Yamaguchi," said Sindhu, adding that she was very patient throughout.

"I knew that it is going be very long and I have to be very patient. When I was down at 8-11 in the second game, I backed myself and came back strong," she added.

This would be Sindhu's fourth medal at the Worlds. The lanky shuttler would be facing second seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, who downed Chen Yufei of China in the other quarter-final. Sindhu enjoys a 6-4 win-loss record against Yamaguchi.

Sindhu fought back from big deficits -- 3-7 in the first and 3-9 in the second -- to get past her rival. Only a few weeks back, Sindhu lost to Okuhara in the final of Thailand Open. The 23-year-old, who won silver last year, will be keen to go the distance this time.

Earlier, Saina was clueless as she caved in against Carolina Marin 6-21, 11-21. Even before Saina could get the feel of the conditions, the first game was over. Marin was at her aggressive best, hitting everything hard, yelling in her usual fashion and giving no time for Saina to react.

Saina tried hard in the second game but could secure only 11 points as Marin was in a rampaging mood after the break. The 28-year-old Indian was stunned by the way Marin dominated her.

"I didn't know that it'll be so fast..when you play that speed day by day its fine but yesterday I played a stroke player and today it was very fast. The match which I played yesterday was late in the evening and within few hours I have to play someone who is very fast...I didn't understand the game, it went on so fast there is no time to think. Her shots are also very attacking. I didn't get any chance to attack," Saina said.

Meanwhile, Sai Praneeth proved no match for sixth seed Kento Momota. The Japanese shuttler took 39 minutes to oust the Indian 21-12, 21-12.

Mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy suffered a straight-game loss against top seeded Chinese pair of Yaqiong Huang and Siwei Zheng 17-21, 10-21.

Axelsen, Tai Tzu stunnedTop seed in men's singles and defending champion Viktor Axeslen, women's singles top seed Tai Tzu Ying and women's doubles top seeds Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan crashed out of the tournament on Friday.

Axeslen went down to Olympic champion Chen Long of China 19-21, 11-21 and Chen-Jia were knocked out by fifth seeds Greysia Poli and Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia 21-23, 21-23.

However, the most unexpected result was the loss of Tai. The world No.1, who lost only one match this year, suffered a shocking defeat against local girl He Bingjiao 18-21, 21-7, 13-21.

Indian results (QFs)Men's Singles: 6-Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Sai Praneeth 21-12, 21-12Women's Singles: 3-PV Sindhu bt 8-Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) 21-17, 21-19; 7-Carolina Marin (ESP) bt 10-Saina Nehwal 21-6, 21-11Mixed Doubles: 1-Yaqiong Huang/Siwei Zheng (CHN) bt Ashwini Ponnappa/Satwiksairaj Rankireddy 21-17, 21-10

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