PV Sindhu pulled off a thriller to advance to the semi-final, but her teammates Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy suffered heartbreaking defeats in their respective events at the Singapore Open Super 500 Badminton Tournament here on Friday.
Third seed Sindhu overcame a strong challenge from Chinese Han Yue to win 17-21, 21-11, 21-19 in a battle lasting more than an hour to book her first semi-final berth since the Thailand Open in May. The double Olympic medallist will next face unseeded Saena Kawakami, the Japanese world No. 38, who caused an upset by eliminating sixth seeded Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand 21-17, 21-19.
London Olympics bronze medalist Saina Nehwal, who showed signs of her silken touch in a superb win over Chinese world No. 9 He Bing Jiao in the quarters, went down 13-21, 21-15, 20-22 against left-handed Japanese Aya Ohori. In-form Prannoy also showed promise and won the first game by nine points but Kodai Naraoka drew level in the second game before sealing the match 12-21, 21-14, 21- 18.
Prannoy put up an incredible battle in the decider when he bounced back from being 7-18 down and had eight straight points to make a match out of Naraoka. From being 15-20, Prannoy saved match points and stretched it further, only to go down in a battle lasting 63 minutes. Earlier in the day, world No. 7 Sindhu found the going tough in the first game as Han was clinical with her placement and drew first blood, but the Indian bounced back strongly to seal the issue in 62 minutes.
World No. 19 Han had it easy in the first game after racing to 11-9 in the interval as Sindhu struggled with her defence. But the Indian bounced back. Indian doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila also stretched the second-seeded duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia but failed to clinch the match losing 10-21, 21-18, 21-17.