PV Sindhu came out on top in the battle of Indian badminton superstars as she beat Saina Nehwal in the quarter-final of India Open Super Series 2017 on Friday.
The Rio Olympics silver medallist overcame the world number 8 21-16, 22-20 at the Siri Fort Complex in Delhi. Sindhu dominated Game 1, winning it in just 19 minutes. Nehwal mounted a series fight back in Game 2, only to falter at the very end. Sindhu will face South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in the semi-final on Saturday.
“Saina is not something special that I have to beat her. I didn’t feel any pressure at all,” Sindhu said after the match.
This was the second meeting between the Indian heavyweights at the international level. When they met during the final of the 2014 Syed Modi Grand Prix, it was London 2012 bronze winner Saina who prevailed in straight games.
But a lot has changed since then with Sindhu overtaking Saina as the higher-ranked player as well as creating history at the Rio Games. This shift in power was on display at the Premier Badminton League (PBL) early this year when Sindhu vanquished Saina and led her team to the title.
Earlier in the day, second seeded Korean Sung Ji Hyun edged out defending champion Ratchanok Intanon, seeded fifth, 21-16, 22-20, while fourth seeded Akane Yamaguchi staved off a challenge from former All England champion Nozomi Okuhara, seeded seventh, 21-13, 11-21, 21-18 in an all-Japanese contest.
In men’s singles, two-time runner-up Viktor Axelsen of Denmark eked out a hard-fought 19-21, 21-14, 21-16 win over Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Wei Wang to reach the semi-finals.