India’s shuttle PV Sindhu burst into the Singapore Open title clash with a crushing victory over lower-ranked Japanese Saena Kawakami in the women’s singles semi-final here on Saturday.
Two-time Olympic medalist Sindhu, who had won two Super 300 titles at Syed Modi International and the Swiss Open this year, won 21-15 21-7 in the 32-minute semi-final.
A high serve from Saena Kawakami lands as PV Sindhu takes an 11-8 lead in the opener of the Singapore Open Super 500 semi-finals.
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She is now one win away from her first Super 500 title of the 2022 season.
Sindhu entered the match with a 2-0 head-to-head record, having last played at the 2018 China Open.
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The former world champion looked in complete control against world number 38 Kawakami, who simply couldn’t control the shuttle and was buried in a pile of mistakes in the lopsided match.
Sindhu summoned her lashes early on but the drift in the room made decision making difficult and also at times the precision lacked but the power of her kicking game helped the Indian to take a healthy lead from three points at the break.
The 24-year-old Japanese, however, began to put the shuttle from difficult positions to establish parity. The match came alive with both fighting for every point.
Sindhu also won two video respins, punished a weak lift and also made good baseline calls to make it 18-14. A powerful smash and then two unforced errors from Kawakami helped Sindhu comfortably seal the opener.
Kawakami’s struggles continued in Game 2 as she failed to control the shuttle and conceded a 0-5 lead to her whimsical rival.
Sindhu just had to keep engaging her rival in the rallies and patiently waited for the mistakes of the Japanese.
A frustrated Kawakami could just smile wryly as Sindhu first took an 11-4 lead in the halfway interval and then moved to 17-5 in a jiffy.
The Japanese had no response to Sindhu’s attacking forehand returns and backhand shots as the Indian went 19-6.
Sindhu sent a long one but then unleashed a whip smash from the baseline that his opponent could only send to the net. With Kawakami sending the shuttle again, Sindhu pumped his fist to announce his entry into the finals.