New Delhi: Eighth seed PV Sindhu of India dispatched Yui Hashimoto of Japan 21-16, 21-16 to enter the semi-finals of India Open for the first time here at the Siri Fort Sports Complex on Friday. The Indian took 47 minutes to beat her Japanese opponent who had ousted the top seed Saina Nehwal a day earlier.
Sindhu took the first game in just under 21 minutes leading throughout, with the Japanese shuttler making a strong comeback in the second. But Sindhu held her nerve to fend off the challenge. The 17-year old will now face third seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the semi-finals.
The Indian got a roaring reception from the home crowd. She started off well with three straight points and with excellent court coverage pushed her opponent onto the back foot early on. Sindhu got her forehand smashes going and then cleverly employed drop shots to progress. Hashimoto looked jittery at the start and at the halfway mark in the first game conceded a seven-point lead to the Indian. The Japanese shuttler, though, came back well taking nine straight points with Sindhu struck at 19, but the Indian got to game point after a long rally, eventually sealing the game 21-16 in 20 minutes.
In the second game. Hashimoto looked in better touch and matched Sindhu point by point as her cross-court smashes fell in place more often than not. The Japanese took the lead 11-10 at the halfway mark in the second game. The second game had more and better rallies as compared to the first but a string of long shots went against the Japanese, helping Sindhu surge ahead to take the game and the match with an identical scoreline.
After the game Sindhu said: "There were a lot of errors in my game. I took a big lead and I was just playing it safe. I was a bit nervous when she [Hashimoto] made a comeback, but I did not lose my confidence." On her semi-final clash against third seed Intanon, the Indian said: " I will give my best."
In the day's first match, India's Arundhati Pantawane lost to third seed Intanon of Thailand 14-21, 21-7, 21-16 in the quarter-finals.
In other results, number one seed in men's doubles, Denmark's Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, were stunned by eighth seed Chinese pair of Zihan Qiu and Xiaolong Liu in the quarters. The top seed of Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia beat Baek Choel Shin and Ye Na Jang of Korea 21-18, 21-16 in under 40 minutes to ease into the semi-finals of the mixed doubles.