Ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu reached the final of the 2021 BWF World Tour Finals after beating Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles semi-finals while young Lakshya Sen lost to Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the men’s singles semis, here on Saturday.
Two-time Olympic medallist beat her opponent Yamaguchi 21-15, 15-21, 21-19 in an exciting clash that lasted one hour 10 minutes. She will now face South Korea’s An Seyoung, who beat Thai top seed Pornpawee Chochuwong 25-23, 21-17 in the other semis, in the final.
It was Sindhu and Yamaguchi’s fourth meeting of the year. While Indian beat the Japanese shuttler at the All England Open and the Tokyo Olympics quarter-finals, Yamaguchi came out on top in the most recent meeting – the Indonesia Masters semi-finals.
Right from the beginning of the match, the momentum constantly shifted between the two players. However, it was the reigning badminton world champion Sindhu who took a two-point advantage into the first game’s midway interval.
The neck-and-neck battle continued even after the restart with the Indian shuttler only just managing to hold onto her slender lead against the Japanese. With the score at 15-14, Sindhu brought her top game and got two clusters of three points each, closing the opening game 21-15.
In the second game, the Japanese player had a solitary point lead midway through. After the restart, Akane’s tempo increased and she kept extending her lead slowly to take the second game to level things up.
Thereafter, both players went in all guns blazing in the third and deciding game. Down 4-5 at one stage, Sindhu rallied to win the next eight points on the trot and turned the tide of the game in her favour.
Yamaguchi managed to cut the Indian’s lead following some long, exhausting rallies and even drew level at 17-17. However, Sindhu won the battle of nerves to secure herself a place in the final.
Sunday’s title clash will be Sindhu’s first final since making the Swiss Open decider in March.
Meanwhile, Indian youngster Lakshya Sen will face reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the men’s singles semis, later in the day.
Later in the day, Lakshya Sen lost 13-21, 11-21 to Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the men’s singles semis. The young Indian shuttler rallied after going down early in both games, but was ultimately no match for his opponent.
Reigning Olympic champion Axelsen will now face Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the final.