Guangzhou, December 15: Booming smashes, there is no stopping to this ace beauty PV Sindhu as she stayed on course for her first title of 2018 after defeating former world champion Ratchanok Intanon in straight games to reach the summit clash of the BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou on Saturday.
The 23-year-old, PV Sindhu who won her first world championship medal back in 2013 at this very stadium, won the match 21-16, 25-23 in 54 minutes and will now face 2017 world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the summit clash on Sunday. In the other semi-final, Okuhara sailed past compatriot Akane Yamaguchi 21-17, 21-14.
Entering the semi-finals high on confidence, PV Sindhu topped her group with three straight wins which included the one against her long-time opponent Tai Tzu Ying in three games and that proved to be the major difference in the final analysis against Intanon.
In the opening game, it was Intanon who started with a more aggressive approach while Sindhu was happy to find her rhythm before beginning to play her attacking strokes. However, the Thailand girl wanted to pin Sindhu to the back court but the Indian was more than a match to this game plan as she used her height to intercept the drives and lifts and play delectable half smashes to stay ahead of the curve.
PV Sindhu’s own mistakes kept Intanon in the hunt in the first part of the game as she, at times, was guilty of looking for winners even when she was not in position to play those strokes but the India still went into the mid-game break with a two point advantage. She did not look back from thereafter, ready to counter punch on Intanon’s drives and smashes and induced a number of errors from her opponent and pocketed the opening game 21-16.
The world number six, Sindhu built on that momentum by taking a 4-0 lead in the second game before Intanon fought back to level the scores at 7-7 and then take one-point lead at 11-10 for the first time in the game.
But Sindhu changed the tempo of the game after the break, going for her booming smashes and taking the shuttle early on the overhead to once again regain the lead. At this point, Intanon changes her tactics once again and pushed the Indian on the defensive to take the lead at 16-15.
However, the Thai inexplicably missed a down-the-line smash after controlling the rally throughout the point to allow Sindhu the draw level.