Nozomi Okuhara steamrolls Saina Nehwal to enter final

Posted August 28, 2017

PV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara took contrasting paths to the final of the BWF World Championships but make no mistake - they both are totally deserving of a place in the final.

India had a mixed day at the World Badminton Championships, with 2016 Olympic silver medallist P.V. Sindhu entering the final, while Saina Nehwal lost in the women's singles semi-finals here on Saturday.

Japanese Nozumi Okuhara, who had defeated Saina Nehwal in the semifinals, won against Sindhu 21-19, 20-22, 22-20. And her mantra right from the time she picked up a racquet at the age of nine has been, "I will win". Stay tuned for the latest updates. In two of the longest rallies of the match, one 43 shots long to get to 16-13 in the second game and the 73-shot gut-buster that sealed the game for Sindhu, it was Okuhara who had been worn down.

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Saina produced a down-the-line smash to level par, while Okuhara unleashed an onrushing backhand flick to lead 18-17 and then an overhead return took her to 19-17. A pumped up Saina returned everything thrown at her and came up with the flawless clears to close out the rallies. In a hard fought rally, she finally succeeded in turning the second game in her favor 22-20.

The Chinese player had no words to explain the game of Sindhu in the match. Earlier, she had won two bronze medals at the previous two editions. But Sindhu went down in the decider 22-20.

There he will play Lin Dan, who has reached his first semi-final since winning his record fifth world title in 2013.

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When it was done, almost two hours of sweat-soaked, adrenalin-charged, toe-to-toe, lung-busting, heart-wrenching badminton finished in the blink of an eye with a Nozumi Okuhara victor, PV Sindhu stood bent over double. The Japanese lobbed and backed them up with drops, making Sindhu bend and rise quite regularly - draining her.

Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth suffered a major blow as he crashed out of the World Badminton Championships after going down in straight games against top-seed Son Wan Ho of South Korea in the quarter-finals of the men's singles event here on Friday.

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