(Birmingham): PV Sindhu will eye a spot in the finals of the prestigious All England Championships 2018 Day 4, after she beat her nemesis Nozomi Okuhara of Japan to book a place in semi finals. HS Prannoy the other Indian in contention lost to Huang Yuxiang, who has been a find of the tournament. The Chinese has proved to be a dark horse in the tournament getting the better of higher ranked players like Rajiv Ouseph, Kidambi Srikanth and now HS Prannoy. He will face his countrymen and 6th seed Lin Dan in semi finals here.
As It Happened: Okuhara vs Sindhu
In the first game it was a neck to neck battle between two fierce rivals as the scores were tied at 4 a piece. Okuhara went into the break with marginal lead of 1 point. At one time the scores were tied at 19-19, but then the Japanese made an unforced error to hand over game points opportunities to Sindhu. However Okuhara was not in a mood to give up so easily as she held her nerves and clinched three straight points to take the game 22-20.
The second game again saw some see-saw battles but it was Sindhu who took two points lead going into the mid break. Okuhara made her way back and levelled it on 11-11 soon thereafter. The see-saw battle again continued and the scores were tied at 18-18. Sindhu brought her “A” game to the course and clinched three straight points to take the game 21-18 and force a decider.
In the third and final game Okuhara eked ahead 4-1 at the start, but then Sindhu clawed her back by levelling it on 6-6. Both the players were making too many unforced errors, but it was the Japanese shuttler who took one point advantage going into the break. The two minute break prooved vital for Okuhara as she cruised ahead 16-12 against the Indian. Just when the things started to look in favour of the 7th seeded Japanese player, Sindhu made a strong comeback and clinched four straight points to bring it down to 16-16. Both the players showcased Stunning attack and defense but it was Sindhu who surge ahead 19-18. She didn’t look back from there and took two straight points to register a win and a place in semi final of All England Championships 2018.
Sindhu will now face other Japanese and second seed Akane Yamaguchi in the semi finals. Yamaguchi beat Olympic champion Carolina Marin 21-15, 21-18 in 52 minutes to enter in semi finals. Sindhu on other other hand, enjoys a 6-3 head to head record against the second seed Japanese.
World No 16 HS Prannoy was left to regret on an unexplainable error late in the third game of his All England Open quarter-final against China’s Huang Yuxiang as the Indian lost 22-20, 16-21, 21-23 after an hour and 17 minutes.
All England Championships 2018 Day 4
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu(4) India vs Akane Yamaguchi (2) Japan