New Delhi: Shuttler Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, popularly PV Sindhu, scripted history on Thursday after she defeated Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara, world number 6, in straight sets to confirm a spot in the finals of the women’s singles badminton event of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
Sindhu crushed her Japanese opponent Okuhara 21-19, 21-10 to advance into the finals where she world No. 1 Carolina Marin of Spain awaits her.
Sindhu will take on Marin of Spain on Friday. Marin became the world champion in women’s singles in 2014 and 2015.
Carolina was the first Spanish badminton player to win a Grand Prix Gold title when she won the 2013 London Grand Prix Gold.
In the semi-final match against Okuhara, Sindhu used her height and long reach to her advantage and beat the Japanese in straight sets.
Nozomi Okuhara, at 21-years-old, the same age as India’s Hyderabadi girl, was no match in the second set when the lanky Indian got into her aggresive game.
With the score at 10-10 in the second set, the Hyderabadi went all guns blazing on the Japanese and won 11 straight points to end Okuhara’s Rio run.
If Sindhu continues to display this aggression against left-handed Carolina in the final on Friday, and sticks to her new-found ability to play her opponents with strategies that are tailor-made for them, India might just bag a gold.
What will set the two badminton stars apart are the wide range of shots that Carolina has to her advantage along with her temperament for big-match finishes.
In the past when the two players have faced each other, Marin has won four matches against Sindhu, while the Indian has managed only two.
PV Sindhu will be the first Indian woman badminton player to win a gold/silver medal in the Olympics, and will be the fifth Indian woman to win a medal in the Olympics after Karnam Malleswari, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Sakshi Malik.
Sindhu is the only Indian to win back-to-back medals at the World Badminton Chamionships (2013-2014).
This will be the first time India will have a silver place finish in badminton after Saina Nehwal had notched a bronze in the London Olympics 4 years back.