New Delhi: It was a complete heartbreak for Indian fans after ace shuttler P V Sindhu lost her semi-final encounter against Japan's Akane Yamaguchi at the prestigious All England Open Championships despite exhibiting top-class fitness under incredible testing conditions in Birmingham on Saturday.
The world No.3 Indian shuttler played a superb match but eventually went down to world No.2 Akane 21-19, 19-21, 18-21 in an hour 19 minutes in the women’s singles semi-finals of the prestigious BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament. This was Sindhu’s fourth loss to Akane in 10 meetings.
Sindhu had clinched the first game 21-19 in just 20 minutes but lost the next two games 19-21, 18-21 to bow out of badminton's most prestigious tournament.
Sindhu was very aggressive in the first game but the Japanese fought back and won the battle of nerves in the second game.
The Indian shuttler then upped the ante once again in the third game taking a 13-8 lead before Yamaguchi came back to level the game at 14-14.
The see-saw battle continued in the third game as both players refused to give an inch to each other with the scoreline tied at 18-18.
But Yamaguchi found her last ounce of strength and under immense pressure closed out the third game 21-18.
The Hyderabadi was looking to be the first Indian since Saina Nehwal (in 2015) to play the final of what is claimed to be the world’s oldest badminton tournament. Saina had lost the final three years ago to Spain’s Carolina Marin in three games.
Only two Indians have ever won the distinguished All England Open: Padukone in 1980 and Sindhu’s coach Gopichand in 2001, both victories coming in men’s singles.
Akane will now take on defending champion, World No.1 and top seed Tai Tzu Ting in the final, who defeated Chinese eighth seed Chen Yufei 21-15, 20-22, 21-13 in an hour and four minutes earlier in the day.