Okuhara leads female shuttlers at worlds

Sunday, 27 Aug, 2017

With Rio Olympics silver medallist P.V. Sindhu already making it to the semi-finals from the top half, this is the first time India will return with two medals from the BWF World Championships. Sindhu won another long rally with an onrushing smash but she lost her second video referrel as Okuhara led 13-12.

She settled for silver this time. Since there are no bronze medal matches at worlds, the two Japanese earned bronze medals, bringing Japan's team total to four.

PV Sindhu will vye for the gold at the world championships today. "I remembered from yesterday that anything can happen, because I was game point to 17 ahead but she (Cheung) caught up".

Initially, Saina looked like her extending her solid 6-1 head-to-head record against the Japanese girl, as she breezed through the first game.

The fourth seeded Indian tried to dictate the rallies and she did manage to break the Chinese defence to claw back at 8 -8 and then led 9-8 when Chen hit the net. She has won all her five matches at the World Championships against Chinese opponents and also defeated the legendary Wang Yihan in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics a year ago. Chen, who graduated from junior ranks only past year, has already eliminated No 1 seed, Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in pre-quarters. Saina continued to play her attacking game and snatched the momentum from the Japanese, who started to struggle from thereon and leveled the game at 10-all before Okuhara taking a point just at the stroke of the mid-game interval to take a one-point lead as the score reached 11-10.

PV Sindhu will take on Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the final of the world championships. "I have to be prepared for everything". I could feel my legs getting to things I maybe wouldn't have before and using skills I didn't have to be able to use before, so I can definitely feel lots of little changes in my game.

Notably, it was not the first time that Saina and Okuhara faced each other in a game.

Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand said: "So far it has really been a very good performance and I am very pleased with the players".

Chen pulled back three points to take her tally to 5 but Sindhu didn't give too many chances to the Chinese keeping her lead intact at 16-5.

Earlier, Saina had made the semifinals, staving off the challenge from local favourite Kristy Gilmour 21-19, 18-21, 21-15 in an hour and 14 minutes. She battled on bravely in the next two games, but in the third game it was quite apparent that the Indian did not have any gas left in her tank.