INDIA OPEN SF – Sindhu into the final

India’s Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is into her first final of her home Superseries event, after withstanding a late charge from Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun. By Don Hearn.  Photos: Mikael Ropars […]

India’s Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is into her first final of her home event, after withstanding a late charge from Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Mikael Ropars / Badmintonphoto (live)

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured) has really come into her own in the past year.  After winning the silver medal at the Rio Olympics, Sindhu soon picked up her first Superseries title, at the 2016 .  After a runner-up finish at the , it was today’s opponent, Sung Ji Hyun of Korea, who blocked the tall Indian from reaching a third straight Superseries final in Dubai.

Sindhu started off 2017 by winning her first major title at home, then today she had the chance to try for one better at the Superseries level.  Coming into the semi-final, she not only had a winning record against Sung Ji Hyun, but she had only lost to the Korean once on home soil.  Most recently, she recorded two victories over Sung in India’s Premier Badminton League, albeit with that league’s system of 11-point games.

Sindhu took control of the first game with an early 5-point run but had trouble from the opposite end in the second.  She opened up a slight lead coming off the momentum of winning the opener but Sung Ji Hyun (pictured) made a 9-1 to put herself in command at the interval and soon had evened the match at a game apiece.

Sindhu came out firing in the decider and was sitting pretty at 11-4 at the interval but Sung benefitted from a series of errors as the Indian again had trouble with the range of her clears and the second seed narrowed the gap to just two points.  Sindhu got a handle on her nerves, however, and kept the pressure on until she had finished the victor.

The home favourite will take on Carolina Marin in a repeat of the Olympic gold medal match.  She beat Marin in Dubai, after the Spaniard had already been mathematically eliminated, then lost to the Olympic champion a few weeks later in the very first match of the Premier Badminton League.

New Superseries winner guaranteed

Not only is the destination country of each doubles title already known but it is also known that the women’s doubles will give a first Superseries title to the victor.  2012 winner Jung Kyung Eun of Korea, together with Shin Seung Chan, were the only women’s doubles semi-finalists who had a Superseries title to their name but they came up short in a photo finish with Japan’s Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (pictured), unable to capitalize on either of two match point opportunities.

While Tanaka/Yonemoto are playing in their first Superseries final, they have at least won a Gold title already.  As for Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao, who beat their compatriots in the other semi-final, they were runners-up in the 2016 but they have yet to win a title bigger than an International Challenge.

In the men’s doubles, both of Indonesia’s pairs overcame strong and tall opposition.  2016 runners-up Ricky Karanda Suwardi / Angga Pratama shut down China’s Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (pictured bottom), the young men who will be world #1 come Thursday.

In the other semi-final, the current world #1 and defending champions took down 2015 runners-up Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding in three.  This brings up a repeat of last year’s men’s doubles final and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo have beaten Suwardi/Pratama twice since then.

Both mixed doubles finalists have enjoyed easy routes to Sunday’s showdown.  The walkover granted to Zheng/Chen by Malaysia’s Chan/Goh was the second this week to benefit the Chinese world #1 pair.  All England winners Lu/Huang saw their opponents retire injured from the quarter-final at match point but won a complete match with complete domination of England’s Chris and Gabrielle Adcock.

No all-Danish final

The men’s singles had the potential to be an all-Danish affair but that possibility was nipped in the bud by Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen.  Chou saw off 19-year-old Anders Antonsen (pictured) in straight games.  The other Dane, winner Viktor Axelsen, did make it through.  He beat Hong Kong Open winner Ng Ka Long in two to earn a right to contest his third straight India Open Superseries final.

Finals line-up
WD:  Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao (JPN) [3] vs. Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (JPN) [7]
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1] vs. Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) [2]
MS:  Viktor Axelsen (DEN) [3] vs. Chou Tien Chen (TPE) [7]
MD:  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) [4] vs. Ricky Karanda Suwardi / Angga Pratama (INA) [6]
WS:  Carolina Marin (ESP) [1] vs. Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (IND) [3]

Click here for complete semi-final results

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net