In a match that lasted nearly one and a half hours, the Indian shuttler came back from a game down to win the match 20-22, 21-18, 21-18. There was slightly greater disparity in the leads that Sindhu took in this game - holding the advantage at 14-11 and 16-13, before losing her focus temporarily for the one and only time in the match. In the third and decisive game, the Indian looked exhausted and trailed 12-16 but fought back to equalise with four straight points before sealing the game 21-18.
Sindhu, now No 3 in the world, has played the No 6 ranked Okuhara nine times with the Japanese shuttler leading the head-to-head tally 5-4. It was anybody's game until the last point.
The Indian dominated the net next and then sent one to the back line to grab two match points and then sealed the contest with another precise on-the-line return, much to the delight of the Indian fans. Also, I was trailing like 12-16 and then I came back, so I am happy I won it. "We had to give our best", World No. 3 Sindhu said moments after the match. There were errors in my part as well. It's been like 10 times we have played and we've won five times each.
Sindhu was ousted from the quarter-finals last season and this time she has bettered the feat. While the epic World Championship final in Glasgow is the most memorable of the 10 encounters they had so far, the story was no different in the Korea Open final a month later or the All England quarterfinal on Friday. She will now take on the victor of the match between Carolina Marin and Akane Yamaguchi in the summit clash.
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The second stanza proceeded along similar lines, with the tiny Japanese star, who had won the All England crown in 2016, trying to prolong the rallies with a diagonally directed attack to force her rival to take that one additional step to cover the court. Sindhu pounced on a chance at the net to grab the lead and gained the match point when the Thai went to the net. She will now be looking forward to getting her hands on the maiden title. Sindhu played a brilliant backhand return to move to 8-3 and eventually entered the interval with another precise stroke at the back of the court.
"May be the match was not so long but the match went long and to three sets, there were long rallies not like the 72-shot rally (in World Badminton Championships final) but overall, it was a good game from both of us", Sindhu concluded.
Chinese Taipei's world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying and Chinese eight seed Chen Yufei lock horns in the other semifinal.