PV Sindhu used a dominant display of badminton to demolish 4th seed Akane Yamaguchi in a one-sided quarter-final match at the Musashino Forest Plaza in Tokyo on Friday, displaying signs of form that propelled her to World Championships gold in 2019.
Sindhu advances to the Tokyo Olympics semi-finals and one step closer to a second Olympic medal with the straight-game victory. The reigning world champion won Olympic silver in Rio, losing only to Carolina Marin, who had withdrawn from Tokyo 2020 due to an ACL injury.
Despite a late surge from the Japanese shuttler in a fiercely contested second game, Sindhu needed 56 minutes to defeat World No. 5 Akane Yamaguchi 21-13, 22-20. Sindhu had to save two game points in order to win the match in straight games.
In the semi-finals, PV Sindhu will face either World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan or World No. 6 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.
Japan's campaign in the badminton singles competition at the Tokyo Games has ended with the defeat. Nozomo Okuhara had earlier lost her quarter-final match, while World No. 1 Kento Momota had been knocked out in the group stages of the men's singles event.
Sindhu took her time with her shots. Sindhu was not desperate to close out points in the second game, so expect a brief period of play. Sindhu took her time in the rallies to hit decisive winners, knowing Yamaguchi was struggling with the drift.
Sindhu's defence has been outstanding, and her delicate drop shots from impossible angles have been a welcome addition to her game. Sindhu made Yamaguchi look stumped in the first game before the Japanese star stormed back from an 8-14 deficit to take a 16-15 lead.
Sindhu, on the other hand, kept her cool and trusted her game, not letting Yamaguchi run away with the match. Sindu saved two game points at 18-20 and converted her first match point to put an end to Japan's singles hopes.
Earlier on Thursday, PV Sindhu defeated World No. 12 Mia Blichfeldt in the Round of 16 match in just 41 minutes. Sindhu appeared to be focused and moved beautifully on the court. Sindhu had such a deft touch that Mia was made to appear toothless. In fact, the Danish shuttler defeated Sindhu in straight games only a few months ago.
Sindhu trained from the Pullela Gopichand Academy at Hyderabad's Gachibowli Stadium to acclimate to the conditions at the Musashino Forest Plaza, and the decision appears to have paid off.