Indian shuttler and Rio Olympics silver-medallist P V Sindhu today defeated South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun to enter the final of China Open.
The Indian seventh seed lost the first game 11-21 but fought back to snatch the next two games 23-21, 21-19. The thrilling encounter lasted an hour and 24 minutes.
In the final, double World Championships bronze medallist Sindhu will face Chinese eighth seed Sun Yu who moved past Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying 21-8, 23-21 in 46 minutes.
Sun leads the head-to-head against Sindhu 3-2 but both the shuttlers have grown a lot since their last meeting which was in March 2014.
Especially, Sindhu has made rapid strides in the badminton world, winning a bronze in the World Championships in August 2014 and finished runner-up in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 21-year-old Indian gave ample display of her rise and maturity as she overcame Sung in a tiring and lengthy contest. Sindhu's start to the match was also shaky and the South Korean made the most of it. Sung led 11-6 when the two-minute break arrived and raced her way to a 21-11 win in the first game.
The quick first-game loss warned Sindhu and the Indian was up to match Sung stroke for stroke. However, Sung maintained her rhythm and held an 11-7 lead but Sindhu looked much better after the mid-game breather.
Starting off with three straight points, Sindhu showed her repertoire of strokes but Sung raced ahead as she held a 19-16 advantage. However, Sindhu equalised at 20-all and snatched the game 23-21.
With the contest tied 1-1, Sung again started strong, taking a 7-3 lead but Sindhu not only erased the deficit but also equalised at 10-point mark.
Sindhu played an aggressive game and held a 15-13 lead but Sung refused to surrender and with the help of three consecutive points, took a 16-15 lead. Sindhu quickly equalised at 16-all and opened up an 18-16 advantage but Sung again fought back and levelled the game at 18-all.
But Sindhu again earned two straight points to stay just one point away from the championship. Sung bagged a point but failed to stop Sindhu from getting the 21st point as the Indian celebrated.
This win was Sindhu's sixth win over 2014 Asian Games champion Sung in nine matches.
Meanwhile, the men's singles final will be contested between China's Chen Long and Denmark's Jan 'O' Jorgensen. Long has a 9-1 lead in career meetings over the Dane.
While 2016 Olympic champion Long beat Dane Viktor Axelsen 21-18, 9-21, 21-14 in an hour and nine minutes, fourth seed Jorgensen battled past Malaysian Iskander Zulkarnain 22-20, 20-22, 21-7 in 58 minutes.
(With inputs from IANS)