Badminton: Sindhu in Third Round of All England Open

India’s P.V. Sindhu during her quarterfinal match with Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara at the All England Championship

India’s P.V. Sindhu during her quarterfinal match with Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara at the All England Championship

The match which lasted more than an hour, Sindhu lost to Yamaguchi by 21-19, 19-21, 18-21. Yamaguchi emerges victor at the end. Sindhu needs to up her game if she wants to end it here.

Great smash by Sindhu, she now trails 11-12. Sindhu maintained a healthy lead in the opening game and won it comfortably in just 19 minutes and 34 seconds. Sindhu, however, kept her calm to seal the first game 21-19 in 20 minutes.

Sindhu looked more focused in the decider as she pumped herself with each point, moving to a 3-0 lead.

Thereon, she slowed the pace of the game, put herself in control and that affected the Indian mentally. After the breather, Okuhara extended her lead to 14-11. Depite Yamaguchi's resistance, Sindhu had made sure she was strong in the rallies and more importantly, she was moving Yamaguchi in different directions before hitting the victor. There were some long rallies like Sindhu said - a 33-shot exchange, another 44-shot back and forth rally, and many more. She leads 8-5. Sindhu dominated the net next and then sent one to the back line to grab two match points and sealed the contest with a precise on-the-line return. This was Sindhu's fourth loss to Akane in 10 meetings.

This has been a fabulous match so far- they are still producing long rallies of high quality. The game became tighter and tighter.

More unforced errors followed from the Indian, allowing Yamaguchi to level the score at 16 all. "The first point came from a scorching bodyline attack on the 5'2" Yamaguchi. The match was reminiscent of their epic encounter in the TOTAL BWF World Championships past year, where the Japanese emerged victorious and became the World Champion.

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Jindapol enjoyed a lucky net chord and Sindhu sent one long as the Thai shuttler lead 17-10 with another superb return. Sindhu hit a stunning down-the-line smash but twice she erred at the forecourt as the Japanese moved to 5-9.

It was then that the turning point that Yamaguchi referred to arrived. "It's one of my big dreams to do so one day", he said. There were two rallies that lasted 55 shots. She went long next before unleashing another powerful smash to grab the lead. But the truth remains that her net game is not so polished, her backhand is not so efficient always. Prannoy stepped up and ensured he had the bragging rights as he pocketed the opening game 22-20. It's 9-9 in the second game.

However, the Chinese managed to take a three-point advantage at 15-12. This is the best-ever finish by Prannoy, world No. 16. The Indian leads 19-17 now. Sindu shrieked "come on" to vent her frustration.

"I was not moving very well today. I have to give my 100 per cent", she said. I think it was those 2-3 points that made the difference. I just gave my best There were errors on my part as well.

"I have been working on my mental game".

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