On Saturday, India’s PV Sindhu showed great tenacity in her semifinal match against Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun. Sindhu lost the first game without any fight and she was down three match points in the second. But the Indian held on grimly, wiped off the deficit and won the hard-fought game to force the decider. The Olympic silver medalist, however, couldn’t dictate terms early in the third game as the brilliant Korean didn’t allow Sindhu any easy time. Then the determined Sindhu came back into the match and prevailed in the end. With that, Sindhu also grabbed the chance of winning her first ever Super-Series-Premier title on Sunday. For that to happen, the seventh seeded Indian will have to beat her eighth seeded Chinese opponent Sun Yu. In men’s draw, world no.1 and Olympic champion Chen Long will lock horns with fourth seeded Dane Jan O Jorgensen. Regardless of so many Chinese players losing in the tournament, China still managed to reach the finals in four out of five categories with men’s doubles being the only exception. In men’s doubles, the title bout will be fought between Indonesian and Danish pairs.
Rio Olympic silver winner PV Sindhu of India is tantalizingly close to winning her maiden Super-Series Premier title. Saina Nehwal was the winner here in 2014 and runners-up in 2015. In a way, Sindhu appears to have filled the vacuum. For the third year in a row, an Indian woman has reached the China Open final. But it wasn’t an easy semifinal for Sindhu since her opponent looked a clean winner late in the second game by holding three match points. Sung Ji Hyun had earlier taken the first game with utmost ease. Sindhu looked perplexed in the first game as the Korean took an early 5-1 lead and kept consolidating. After managing only 11 points in the first game dominated by Sung Ji Hyun, Sindhu played the second with a much better resolve. The Indian matched her opponent point by point until 7-7 before the Korean shifted gears for an 11-7 lead at the break. But soon after the break, Sindhu wiped off the deficit only to see Sung Ji Hyun going into the lead yet again. It looked as if it was all over for Sindhu as the Korean held three match points at 20-17. But Sindhu produced some scintillating strokes including an angled drop shot to make it 20-20. Sindhu earned a match point at 21-20 but couldn’t capitalize on it. However at 22-21, the two players got engaged in a long rally that Sindhu closed with a powerful smash and forced the decider.
In the third game, Sindhu trailed again 3-7 before going into a 10-9 lead. But Sung Ji Hyun had not finished. She reeled off two points in a row for a slender 11-10 lead at the break. The two women kept fighting neck to neck with until Sindhu grabbed two match points at 20-18. She wasted one, but sealed the match with a superbly executed cross-court smash to win at 11-21, 23-21, 21-19. The Sung Ji Hyun- PV Sindhu encounter was the longest match of the day lasting 84 minutes. In the final on November 20, Sindhu will play against China’s Sun Yu, who defeated Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying 21-8, 23-21.
The men’s singles final will be contested between China’s Chen Long and Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen. Chen Long lost a game but still prevailed over Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen 21-18, 9-21, 21-14. Jorgensen outlasted the fighting Malaysian Iskandar Zulkarnain to win at 22-20, 20-22, 21-7.
The Chinese have reached the final of two other categories. In women’s doubles Huang Dongping/Li Yinhui outlasted the Danish pair of Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Christinna Pedersen 21-16, 21-18 while in the mixed doubles the Chinese duo of Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui defeated top-seeded Koreans Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na 21-19, 10-21, 21-15. In the final on Sunday, Huang Dongping/Li Yinhui will play against the Korean pair of Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee while Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui will meet Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir. The only non-Chinese final on Sunday will be men’s doubles, where Indonesia’s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo will clash with Denmark’s Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen.
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