Two months earlier than touchdown in Tokyo for her second Olympic marketing campaign, PV Sindhu was requested in a tv interview who her hardest opponent could be within the absence of injured Carolina Marin on the impending Olympics. She picked three names, she trails in opposition to two within the head-to-head tie, however described just one, the one which she performs in opposition to on Friday on the Musashino Forest Plaza. Sindhu had described second-seeded Tai Tzu Ying, her semifinal opponent, as a “difficult participant” in an interview with NDTV again in June.
On Friday, Sindhu eliminated Japan’s final remaining hope within the singles draw, Akane Yamaguchi, defeating the house favorite 21-13, 22-20 in simply 56 minutes to achieve her second straight Olympic semifinal. The Indian had overcome a sluggish begin in opposition to the Japanese, who defeated her thrice of their final 4 encounters, extremely with some aggressive gameplay. She relied on a change of tempo and cross-court drop pictures to rifle Yamaguchi’s plans and took the lead on the midway mark of the opening set earlier than ending it off in 23 minutes.
She began off in an identical method to take a 12-6 lead within the second set earlier than Yamaguchi scripted a valiant comeback, epitomised by her winner within the mammoth 54-stoke rally, which diminished Sindhu’s lead by only a level at 15-14. A lapse in rhythm allowed Yamaguchi to pile on the strain and take the lead for the primary time within the second set and roared to gaining two match factors at 20-18. Yamaguchi resolved to her traditional gameplan to push Sindhu deep into the courtroom earlier than shelling out the drop pictures which resulted within the sixth-seeded Indian falling behind. However she bounced again in time to win 4 in a row and deny Yamaguchi the second set.
Sindhu will now be up in opposition to Tai Tzu, who launched a spirited comeback to defeat Ratchanok Intanon, the opposite participant that Sindhu had talked about and in opposition to whom she trails in H2H (4-6), 14-21, 21-18, 21-18, within the semis. Sindhu owns among the many worst head-to-head determine in opposition to the Chinese language Taipei participant within the BWF circuit with simply 5 wins in 18 encounters. Tai Tzu received her final three video games in opposition to Sindhu, together with the three-match thriller on the World Tour Finals in January 2020. The final time Sindhu had claimed a victory was again in 2019, within the World Championship quarterfinal. Tai Tzu is an extremely swift participant on the courtroom and her model of play is basically unpredictable owing to her means to create angles out of nowhere, therefore a “difficult participant”.
Nonetheless, for the 27-year-old, her medal cupboard does not comprise of any Olympic achievements. In her earlier two appearances – 2012 and 2016 – Tai Tzu had bowed out within the spherical of 16, her second defeat coming in opposition to Sindhu in Rio. The Indian, however, had gone on to win the silver within the 2016 Video games, dropping to Carolina Marin within the last. She is but to drop a set this 12 months and is now has 9 wins within the Olympic singles occasion, which is the joint-most by an Indian after Olond Olympic bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal.
If Sindhu can overcome the “difficult participant”, she is going to assure India a 3rd medal in Tokyo, however will she turn into the overwhelming favorite to take house the elusive gold? The opposite semifinal might be an all-Chinese language affair – with top-seeded Chen Yufei taking up He Bingjiao. Sindhu has a 6-4 H2H file in opposition to the world no.2 however trails 6-9 in opposition to He Bingjiao. However as Sindhu had mentioned within the interview, “You must be sure each time that you’re in that prime kind and also you give your 100 per cent. It is about one match at a time and being targeted.”