Sindhu storms into final, Saina settles for bronze

PV Sindhu Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth into quarters at World Badminton Championships

Almost two hours of fantastic badminton ended in disappointment for India's PV Sindhu, who played her heart out but in the end lost to Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the women's singles final of the 2017 BWF World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. Sindhu's all round game proved too much for the 19-year-old Chinese to handle. Before that, she might have won some major competitions, but it was her performance in Rio which made her a household name in badminton in India. Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal also won a bronze on Saturday after losing her semifinal. In the next point, Okuhara again hit the shuttle way behind the baseline to concede the point as Saina then trailed by 6-8.

Though Sindhu had defeated the Japanese in 2016 Rio Olympics, the latter equaled the score this time.

"I am very exhausted", she said. Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a medal when he took a bronze in the men's singles in 1983 before the women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bagged another bronze in 2011. Sindhu took the game 22-20 but not before winning an enthralling 73-stroke rally.

It was only justified that the game went down the wire to stand at 20-20. The best part is that despite not being at 100 per cent peak fitness, her body language shows the hunger to win. For Okuhara, the Saina match was a strenuous one and it will be interesting to see how well her body has recovered.

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Saina, however, kept breathing down Okuhara's neck, making it 15-15 when the Japanese found the net and also hit long. She overcame the unseeded Cheung Ngan Yi 21-13, 21-9 in the second round, 14th seed Sayaka Takahashi 21-18, 21-14 in the third round, sixth seed Wang Yihan 21-15, 19-21, 21-19 in the quarters and the unseeded Lindaweni Fanetri 21-17, 21-17 to book a final date with Marin.

In the decider, Saina grabbed an early 3-1 lead but Okuhara soon started dominating the rallies. But lost by two points in the row, Sindhu lost.

4 Indian will next take on World No. 10 Chen Yufei, who saw off former champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.

The Indian, who now has won three World Championship medals, said there was no need to tinker with the format and scoring pattern to ensure short contests. Sindhu has a 3-3 head-to-head record with her summit clash rival Okuhara in their last six meetings. The Indian saved one with a drop but the Japanese sealed the issue with another precise return at the baseline.

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