BWF World Championships 2018: Sindhu, Saina meet old foes for semi-final berths

first_imgPV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara of Japan are set to recreate the final of 2017 Badminton World Championships when they take on each other in the quarter-final of BWF World Championships 2018 in Nanjing, China on Friday.In 2017, when the Sindhu and Okuhara played the epic one hour 50 minutes women’s singles final in Glasgow, the world stood up and applauded the two for their fighting spirit, grit and sheer fitness. A year later, the two are ready to perhaps give the world another classic.Since Sindhu’s World Championships loss to Okuhara last year, the two have played each other four times — Korea Open, Japan Open, All England Championships 2018 and Thailand Open 2018. Okuhara currently leads Sindhu 6-5 in their head-to-head record.The last time the two met was in the final of Thailand Open, where Okuhara came out on top. While people are now used to seeing longer, patient and tiring rallies between the two, in Thailand Okuhara brought completely different to the game.She took the attack against Sindhu and did not let her settle down. Even as Sindhu built rallies looking to get her moment to smash it down, Okuhara kept reaching the shuttles first to pull off attacking strokes.With Okuhara developing her arsenal of strokes, it will be interesting to see how the Friday quarter-final turns out.SAINA NEHWAL VS CAROLINA MARIN Saina edges out Marin 5-4 in their head-to-head record (Reuters Photo)On the other hand, last year bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, seeded 10th in the tournament, will be up against Olympic champion and seventh seed Carolina Marin in the quarter-final.advertisementSaina, who registered a dominating 21-16, 21-19 over former champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the Round of 16 would look to do the same to Marin. Saina, in the 2015 World Championships final, had lose to Marin to settle for silver. Saina will want to erase that memory.Saina edges out Marin 5-4 in their head-to-head record and the last time these two met was in the Denmark Open last year where the Indian beat the former World Champion in straight games.Saina and Marin have both spent dominating moments on court till now. Considering the wide range of strokes Saina has and the impeccable fitness of Marin, it should make up for an interesting battle.SAI PRANEETH VS KENTO MOMOTA B Sai Praneeth is the only Indian left in the men’s singles competition (Getty Images)Unseeded B Sai Praneeth will be playing his first quarter-final against the in-form Japanese Kento Momota. Momota, who is one of the favourites coming into the tournament, staged a stunning comeback against Anders Antonsen in the Round of 16 to make it to last 8.Currently, Praneeth holds a 2-0 lead in the head-to-head record against Momota but both of those matches date back to 2013 and Momota is a far better player now and it will be a massive task for Praneeth today.ASHWINI-SATWIK VS ZHENG-HUANGAshwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy put on a massive show against seventh seed Malaysian pair of Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai coming from behind to win 20-22, 21-14, 21-6.Ashwini’s captaincy and impeccable serving combined with Satwik’s intimidating smashes makes for a brilliant combination but the two will be up against first seed Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong in the quarter-final today.The first seeded Chinese pair absolutely dismantled their Indonesian opponents in just 33 minutes. Even though Ashwini and Satwik will be high on confidence, they have an extremely tough match ahead.last_img read more