PV Sindhu stuns Olympic gold medallist Xuerui in China Masters




Budding shuttler PV Sindhu played the match of her life to knock out London Olympics gold medallist Li Xuerui of China and storm into the women’s singles semifinals of the Li Ning China Masters Super Series badminton tournament on Friday.

PV Sindhu stuns Olympic gold medallist Xuerui in China Masters

PV Sindhu stuns Olympic gold medallist Xuerui in China Masters

Currently ranked 24, Sindhu is the sole Indian woman in the fray in the absence of star compatriot Saina Nehwal. She won 21-19, 9-21, 21-16 in a tense 45-minute contest against the second seeded and world number three Chinese.

Sindhu, who has earned the reputation of a giant-killer, was far more aggressive than her fancied opponent riding on a confidence high coming from beating the World no. 14 Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand in the pre-quarterfinals of the tournament.

The Indian went on to hit as many as 26 smash winners as opposed to 20 by the Chinese. The net game was a close affair as the Indian had nine points to the Chinese’s eight.

The battle was an absorbing one with both players making a slew of unforced errors while going for their shots with the odds being against the Indian. Her Chinese opponent is also the current reigning All England champ.

The young Indian straightaway opened a 3-0 lead and then made it 6-1 in the opening game before the Chinese reduced the gap to 6-7. Sindhu continued to maintain the lead but Xuerui used all her experience to make it 18-19.

It looked like Sindhu would wither under intense pressure from the vastly experience opponent but the Indian admirably held on to her nerves to take the first game 21-19.

Xuerui is not the sort to give up and fought back hard to win the second game 9-21. But the 17-year-old Indian showed remarkable grit in the decider to record the biggest win of her career.

Sindhu ran to hug her coach Pullela Gopichand after Xuerui netted a back hand on the first match-point.

The outcome was completely unexpected as Xuerui has been nearly unbeatable since February. In fact, this was only Xuerui’s second loss in the last 39 matches – the other loss, incidentally, was against Sindhu’s senior compatriot Saina Nehwal in the final of the Djarum Indonesia Open. For her efforts, Sindhu will now tackle No. 4 seed Jiang Yanjiao in the semi-finals.

The Hyderabadi defeated an opponent who has been the best player of the year, winning four titles besides the Olympic gold at London. It has to been seen if she has it in her to continue this amazing run of hers as she attempts to tame the Chinese in their own backyard.

Meanwhile, in the men’s quarterfinals match it was an all Indian affair, with Ajay Jayaram coming from a game behind to beat compatriot Sourabh Varma 12-21, 21-14, 21-16 in a quarterfinal battle that lasted 49 minutes.

In the semifinal, Ajay will take on Hong Kong’s Hu Yun.

However, RMV Gurusaidutt’s  run came to an end after going down to the top seed Long Chen of China 8-21, 12-21 in another quarterfinals clash of the men’s singles event.

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Nupoor Bansal

Author:

Hey, I'm Nupoor Bansal, 20, currently pursuing Journalism from DU. I have always been immensely interested in both playing and watching sports. Like most other cricket fanatics Sachin Tendulkar is THE God for me. Badminton, Tennis and Football are the other sports that interest me.

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