ALL ENGLAND QF – A close shave for Sindhu

Olympic silver medallist Pusarla Venkata Sindhu came out on top in her tenth encounter against Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara (pictured) and booked her semi-final spot at the Yonex All England 2018. […]

Olympic silver medallist Pusarla Venkata Sindhu came out on top in her tenth encounter against Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara (pictured) and booked her semi-final spot at the Yonex 2018. She survived her opponent in yet another thrilling match between the two long-time rivals and concluded the 84-minute contest in her favour, 20-22, 21-18, 21-18.

By Serla Rusli. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Okuhara, who won the All England title in 2016, had a comfortable lead in the third game at 16-12, before Sindhu gained 4 consecutive points to level the score. Once the momentum swung to her side, the Indian star took the stride and snatched the hard-fought match from Okuhara.

“I just thought I should not give up, each point was important for me and I am happy that I fought back and won the match,” said Sindhu.

The two now have five victories each on their side. The match was reminiscent of their epic encounter in the TOTAL BWF World Championships last year, where the Japanese emerged victorious and became the World Champion.

“You can’t expect easy points from her, you just have to do your best and strategize your game accordingly with each point,” said Sindhu.

“Playing against her wasn’t easy, both of us know each other’s game so well.”

Okuhara, who is still recovering from her knee injury, said, “I am always looking forward to playing against her and it was a pretty good match to be involved in.

“I am coming to the point where I can play my game and my knee is kind of ok, but it is not 100% yet.”

Sindhu will face Akane Yamaguchi, who keeps the Japanese flag flying after beating two-time World Champion Carolina Marin in straight games, 21-15, 21-18.

In the other half of the draw, defending champion Tai Tzu Ying will face eight seeded Chen Yufei of China. 

The ‘Minions’ March On

Tournament favourites Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (pictured) are on track to defend their title in Birmingham after beating Chen Hung Ling / Wang Chi-Lin in straight games, 21-15, 21-13. The Chinese Taipei duo had no answers to the Indonesians’ impeccable teamwork and excellent shots and had to succumb to the defending champions for the fourth time.

We played with them many times, and we always win so we know how they play and we have already learned about them.

Being the underdog champions last year, Gideon / Sukamuljo went on to win a record of seven world circuit titles in 2017. They have become the players to beat this year, and they have their eyes set on the coveted title. 

“We hope no one can stop us, we don’t know what will happen next and we will always try our best.

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