All England Open: PV Sindhu exits England

Updated: Mar 14, 2020, 12:57 IST | PTI | Birmingham

PV Sindhu goes down to Okuhara 21-12, 15-21, 13-21 in quarters.

India shuttler PV Sindhu
India shuttler PV Sindhu

World champion PV Sindhu was ousted from the All England Championship after being outplayed by a determined Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, who rallied her way to a thrilling three-game win in the quarter-final of the women's singles here on Friday. The Indian, 24, squandered a sparkling start as Okuhara produced a rearguard action to outwit Sindhu 12-21, 21-15, 21-13 in a 68-minute Last Eight encounter at the Arena Birmimgham.

Sindhu's defeat ended India's campaign at the Super 1000 tournament. Sindhu had come into the match with a 9-7 head-to-head record against Okuhara, having demolished the Japanese in the finals of the 2019 World Championships. The Indian started the match with the same intensity, quickly moving to a 3-0 lead and then swelling the advantage to 7-2 with a precise shot at the backline.

The Japanese narrowed the gap to 5-8 before Sindhu unleashed a shot at the back and then grabbed another point when Okuhara found the net. Sindhu entered the break with a five-point cushion. The Indian continued to dominate the proceedings after the breather, putting her opponent under pressure to gather points at will. Okuhara got a few points with her straight and cross court smashes but those were too few as Sindhu zoomed to 18-9.

With Okuhara's weak returns going to the nets, Sindhu had a massive 20-11 advantage. The Indian quickly sealed the opening game when Okuhara erred again. After the change of sides, Okuahara showed more intent, employing a low service and tried to put Sindhu on the back foot as the Japanese jumped to a 16-9 lead in a jiffy and later won the second game.

In the decider, Okuhara continued to dictate the pace of the rallies, leading 5-2 early on. Errors continued to pile up for the Indian as Okuhara moved to 19-11 and sealed the match when Sindhu committed another error.

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