Tokyo Olympics: PV Sindhu ‘happy’ with win but looking to rest and prepare for next match

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PV Sindhu inched closer to a second Olympic medal on Friday by beating Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in two hard-fought sets and said that while she is happy with the win, she is only looking to rest up and prepare for her next tie. Sindhu had to dig deep towards the end of the second game and was made to work in the first game as well, despite hardly being challenged on points as she beat the Japanese fourth seed.

“I’m happy but it’s not over yet. For me it’s time to go back, relax and get ready for the next match. I’m happy but I need to prepare for the next match,” Sindhu is quoted as saying by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after her match.

“…I think I have really worked hard for this and it’s not over yet and I have to be focused and prepare for the next match. The next one is important,” she said.

Sixth seed Sindhu was leading 15-9 in the second game with Yamaguchi seemingly having no answer for her aggression. However, the Japanese rubbed off the six-point deficit and even led Sindhu 16-15 at one point. Sindhu had to then deny Yamaguchi two match points before converting her own first match point in a dramatic end to the second game. Sindhu now faces Taiwanese second seed Tai Tzu Ying in the semi-final.

“There were some very long rallies. The second game was very important, I was leading and Akane came back - so I couldn’t relax. On my side there were a few errors,” she said.

Sindhu said that she wasn’t nervous when Yamguchi was on two game points, crediting her coach Park Tae-Sang for keeping her calm. “I wasn’t nervous even though she was at game point, my coach was saying: ‘It’s okay, keep the focus and you’ll get there’. He was constantly supporting me and that got me by and I’m happy I got back in two games,” she said.

Highlights Badminton Quarter-Final Score And Updates Tokyo Olympics: Terrific Sindhu Beats Yamaguchi, Books Place in Semis

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PV Sindhu vs Akane Yamaguchi Quarter-Final Highlights (21-13, 22-20)

Tokyo: Hello and welcome to our badminton coverage of PV Sindhu vs Akane Yamaguchi, Quarter-final Highlights Score and Updates Tokyo Olympics Badminton played at the Musashino Forest Plaza Crt 1 in Chōfu, Tokyo. PV Sindhu was once again in her elements as she went past Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in straight sets (21-13, 22-20) to book her place in the semis. The first game was dominated by Sindhu as it got over in a little over 23 minutes but Yamaguchi came back brilliantly in the second game and at one point was serving for the game with a clear two-point advantage. This was after Sindhu started off in fine fashion by taking a six-point lead at one stage but the Japanese shuttler refused to throw in the towel as she fought back, winning 10 out of 12 points and eventually went on to take the lead. But the 26-year-old Indian shuttler kept her calm and brought her ‘A’ game to the court in the final couple of points that saw her stretch Yamaguchi from one corner of the court to the other. With that win, Sindhu inched one step closer to getting another medal for her country.Also Read - Tokyo 2020, PV Sindhu vs Tai Tzu-Ying: Head to Head Record

Earlier, Sindhu sailed into the women’s singles quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics with a straight-game triumph over Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt on Thursday. The 26-year-old Indian, who won a silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, completed a 21-15 21-13 win over 13th seed Blichfeldt in a 41-minute match. “I started off well in the first game but around 15-16 I gave a couple of points because I was rushing in my defence. My coach was telling me that I was playing the wrong way and I realised that and I immediately changed my tactics and completed the first game,” Sindhu told media after the match. Also Read - Amit Panghal vs Y. Martínez; Pooja Rani vs Li Qian, Tokyo Olympics 2020: When And Where to Watch India’s Boxing Matches At The Games

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Tokyo Olympics | Sindhu passes the Yamaguchi test

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Smashes her way into the semifinals with a win in straight games

P.V. Sindhu, with searing smashes and delicate drop shots, overcame a gritty Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-13, 22-20 in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics at the Musashino Forest Plaza here on Friday. She will meet her long-time rival and second seed Tai Tzu Ying in the semifinals.

The Japanese, backed by the volunteers at the stadium, led 6-5 in the opening game. After a phenomenal rally that lasted 26 strokes and 33 seconds, helped the Indian pull level at 6. It was one-way traffic from there as Sindhu raced to a 16-11 lead.

Sindhu kept Yamaguchi guessing most of the time, craftily mixing smashes with drops. The Japanese targeted Sindhu’s backhand, her not-so-strong side, the Indian was unperturbed and went on to clinch the first game in 23 minutes. She began the second with a 308kmph smash. To make a comparison, the fastest bullet train in Japan runs at an estimated speed of 320kmph!

Chasing a second successive Olympic medal, after her silver in Rio 2016, the Indian surged ahead 14-8. However, Yamaguchi made a superb comeback, cutting down the lead to two points (13-15).

Then came the moment of the game. The shuttle went back and forth for 63 seconds before Yamaguchi finished the point with a down-the-line smash. Both players sank to their knees in exhaustion after the exhange.

Winning that point seemed to have boosted Yamaguchi’s confidence as she led 20-18. But Sindhu dug deep to save game points and won the next two to wrap up the contest.

“This was the best match of the tournament for me so far,” Sindhu said after the 56-minute quarterfinal. “The second game was very crucial. Even though she was leading, I never lost hope. I was ahead 14-8 and all of a sudden she was leading 20-18. My coach was constantly saying, ‘it is okay, it is not over yet… be focused and you can do it’ and I did it.”

Sindhu she was up for the Yamaguchi challenge. “I was prepared for the rallies. I always knew she would come back, and I was prepared for it. I needed to maintain my attack because that’s my strong point. There were few errors from my side when I was hitting smashes. I am happy I closed out the match in two games,” she said.

Sindhu had beaten Yamaguchi in three games when they had last played in the quarterfinals of the All England Open in March.

Sindhu added that the free time she had during the lockdown had helped her improve. “I have worked on every single stroke, my skill and technique with my coach. We got a good amount of time due to the pandemic when the tournaments were cancelled and I utilised this period really well.”