Indian badminton champion PV Sindhu advanced to the Tokyo semi-finals after a brilliant victory that kept her country’s hopes alive with a living gold medal.
The 26-year-old defeated Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi 21-13 and 22-20 on Friday.
PV Sindhu, one of India’s top medals, hopes to win silver at the last Olympics in Rio and gold at the 2019 World Championships.
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She put Yamaguchi under pressure from the start, using her trademark over smash.
She also played well near the net, showing good control throughout the game. This was the 19th match between Sindhu and Yamaguchi – and the 12th Indian star’s victory over the Japanese player was announced.
Yamaguchi, ranked fifth in the world, was on edge at the start of the first game, but Sindhu, ranked seventh, quickly took the reins and ruled after that.
The second game was well balanced, with Yamaguchi struggling to end the deficit. She took seven points on the trot to make 15-15 points before leading one point.
Both players struggled to get every point from here on out, with Sindhu taking part in Yamaguchi’s two-point match to win the match.
PV Sindhu ‘s victory is a free way to welcome India after a painful week.
Boxer Mary Kom, whose life inspired the Bollywood film, 19-year-old Manu Bhaker and 27-year-old archer Deepika Kumari, who won three gold medals at the World Cup in Paris, all hit the ground running.
PV Sindhu is one of the biggest sports stars in India and a home name in a country that has a lot of respect for cricket players.
PV Sindhu became famous in 2019 for her unexpected victory when she became the first world badminton champion. But in this case the expectations are high.
“I was involved at the time, but now everyone says Sindhu should get the medal,” She told the BBC recently.
In 2018, she took seventh place on the list of the highest paid women’s brand, Forbes, earning weekly $ 163,000. She was earning about $ 8m at the time with recommendations only.
Indian athletes have won just 28 Olympic medals – their best Olympic sport was in London in 2012 when the country won six medals.
Indian women have won six medals but never won Olympic gold – Sindhu was the first to win silver in 2016 in Rio.