Zee Media Bureau
Copenhagen: After Saina Nehwal's disappointing loss early on Friday, her understudy PV Sindhu created history by becoming the first Indian to win two back-to-back medals in the World Badminton Championships.
The world number twelve from Hyderabad showed extraordinary skills and fighting spirit to defeat the second ranked Shixian Wang in three gruelling sets 19-21, 21-19, 21-15, with the match lasting more than an hour at Copenhagen.
With the win, the 19-year-old has been assured of a medal as she will now play the winner of Tai T-y of Chinese Taipei and C Marín of Spain in the semi-final.
In the quarterfinal contest that lasted for one hour and 25 minutes, Sindhu and Wang were locked in a battle of attrition and rode on each other's mistakes to gather points. Sindhu dominated the net early on and used her height and reach well to lead 11-5 initially. However, Wang soon caught up at 15-15 before getting past the Indian to pocket the first game.
Frustrated by the first game loss, Sindhu stepped up her performance in the second and once again opened up a healthy 5-1 lead but Wang made her way back into contention at 6-6 with some precise net shots to lead 11-9 at the break.
A couple of unforced errors helped Sindhu to narrow the gap but the Indian faltered at the forecourt to help Wang keep the lead. The Indian kept fighting and used her smashes and better judgment of the shuttle to draw parity at 16-16.
Wang, however, faltered at the nets to allow Sindhu a 19-16 lead and then hit another miscued shot to give the Indian four-game points. The Chinese saved three game points with a couple of brilliant shots from the back of the court but Sindhu finally managed to send one away from the outstretched right hand of Wang to bounce back into the contest.
The decider started with a long rally which Sindhu grabbed after Wang hit wide. The Chinese kept hitting wide and long and found the net allowing the Indian to lead 5-2. But Wang once again caught up at 5-5.
Earlier this month, Sindhu had won a bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
However, Sindhu, seeded 11th, showed once again why she is considered one of India's finest shuttlers as she held her nerves in crucial moments during the energy-sapping battle to record her fourth win against Wang.
With Agency inputs