Sindhu, Praneeth reach World C’ships semi-finals

Basel, Aug 23 (IANS) | Publish Date: 8/23/2019 11:49:46 AM IST

P.V. Sindhu stunned World No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 12-21, 23-21, 21-19 to storm into the semi-finals of the BWF World Championships in a rip-roaring quarter-final clash on Friday.

The ace Indian shuttler came back from losing the first game in 15 minutes to clinch the second one 23-21 in thrilling fashion and then wrest advantage from her old nemesis to win 21-19 and make it two wins in a row against the same opponent.
Sindhu’s bid for a third straight final at BWF World Championships is thus alive. 
Tai Tzu has a superior record against her, but Sindhu won in their last meeting in 2018.
Tai Tzu, who last year claimed the nation’s first-ever badminton gold at the Asian Games, opened up a 7-point lead and from then on peppered the Olympic silver medallist with back-to-back smashes.
A brilliant rally saw the Taiwanese maintain her dominance and win the first game 21-12 as Sindhu had no answer to her returns.
The Indian started strongly in the second game, winning her first point with a strong smash.
Tai Tzu fought back to take a 5-3 lead before Sindhu levelled the score at 8-8 and took a 11-9 advantage at the break.
The rallies were long and Sindhu even fell to the floor while attempting to return a sharp Tai Tzu shot.
It was a see-saw battle after the breather as both Sindhu and Tai Tzu refused to budge. It was even at 21-21 before Sindhu showed composure and skill to win it 23-21 and stay afloat.
In the decider, Tai Tzu opened up a 5-2 lead before Sindhu fought back to go into the break trailing 9-11. It was exhilariting badminton from there on as Sindhu, in typical fashion, took the lead from 15-15 to win 21-19.
Meanwhile, B Sai Praneeth recorded a stunning straight-game win over Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie to seal the semifinal spot and end India’s 36-year agonising wait for a men’s singles medal at the BWF World Championships here on Friday.
World No. 19 Praneeth, who was awarded the Arjuna Award this year, notched up a 24-22 21-14 win over Asian Games gold medallist and World No. 4 Jonatan in the quarterfinals to assure himself of a medal at the prestigious tournament.
Badminton legend Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a men’s singles medal - a bronze - in the 1983 World Championship.
Praneeth had won the Singapore Open in 2017 and finished runner-up in the Swiss Open early this year.
Saina slams umpiring standards 
Saina Nehwal on Friday slammed the umpiring in her Round of 16 defeat to Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt at the BWF World Championships. In a match that lasted an hour and 12 minutes, Saina lost 21-15, 25-27, 12-21 to the lower-ranked Blichfeldt despite having two match points in the second game.
Saina’s husband and badminton player Parupalli Kashyap, who has been coaching Saina at the World Championships, was the first to express his displeasure about the level of umpiring. 
“2 match-points snatched away by bad umpiring . And numerous wrong decisions . Unbelievable that there are no reviews on other courts at the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. When will our sport get better? SICK @bwfmedia @HSBCBWF @NSaina #feelingcheated #totalbwfworldchampionships2019 (sic.)” he tweeted. 
Just over five minutes later, Saina tweeted: “still can’t believe 2 match points which the umpire overruled in the second game . And the umpire tells me in the mid of second game “let the line umpires do their job” and I dnt understand suddenly how the umpire overruled the match points..very sick @bwfmedia @HSBCBWF (sic.)”
The match was played on Court 4 which had no telecast. With cameras not being present on the court, the review system was not available. 
The defeat meant that Saina was eliminated from the World Championships before the quarter-finals for the first time since 2007.

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