PV Sindhu Becomes First Indian to Enter Badminton Finals at the Olympics

Hyderabad-based badminton sensation PV Sindhu created history by storming into the finals by outsmarting All England champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-19, 21-10 in the semifinals of the women's singles event at the Rio Olympics on Thursday.

Sindhu, the two-time bronze medallist at World Championship, registered an emphatic 21-19, 21-10 victory in the thrilling semi-final contest that lasted 49 minutes to become only the second woman player in badminton to win an Olympic medal after Saina Nehwal.

Sidhu had beaten the Spaniard in the last match they played in the Denmark Open past year.

Sindhu looked more aggressive in the second and raced to a 3-0 lead with some strong smashes on either side of her opponent.

Sindhu and Wang were involved in long rallies and both came out with some stunning cross-court shots to make the game tantalisingly close.

But the 26-year-old grappler could not succeed against the tight defense put up by her Greek rival and lost points in both the periods of their pre-quarter final bout. In the first game it was 20-all and I felt even though I was leading I never thought the game was over.

"She was playing to a specific plan and Sindhu did straight get into retrieving action and negated Wang Yihan's attack".

Okuhara would be disappointed after her quarter-final clash was scheduled against her compatriot Akane Yamaguchi.

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What endears her to the college community is Sindhu giving away her playing kit, ranging from bags to racquets and each year's books to needy sportswomen of the next batch. Congratulating Sakshi, Sindhu said: "I did not meet her".

Down to earth, Sindhu relates to all and sundry, often enquiring about the ground staff on her visits.

If Sindhu can summon the same courage and determination that she showed against Yihan, she has a chance to secure India's first medal of the games. "Carolina Marin is a world champion, let us not underestimate her", Sindhu's father told India Today.

However, a couple of unforced errors cost Sindhu dearly and the Chinese went into the mid-game break with a 11-8 lead. When It was 19-18, those two points were really very important.

Okuhara again held the lead at 7-5 and at the mid-game interval Sindhu led 11-10.

Especially, Sindhu's sharp cross-court game and half smash helped her get off to a fine start. A lapse in judgement by Okuhara near the line gave Sindhu an 11-10 lead at the break, but no one knew what was about to come next.

Earlier, Spain's Carolina Marin completed a 21-14, 21-16 win over defending champion Li Xuerui of China.

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