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PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 21-13 Akane Yamaguchi: PV Sindhu was the special guest recently in BWF’s preview show for the #UberCup2022 final and she spoke about how it’s been a long time since she faced Chen Yufei. Well, here we are, wish granted :) A 11th meeting coming up, first since December 2019. Two cracking semifinals in store on Saturday.
World No 2 Tai Tzu Ying vs former world champion Ratchanok Intanon
Olympic Champion Chen Yufei vs former world champion PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 21-13 Akane Yamaguchi: Sindhu into the semifinals! A bizarre match, truth be told. A quick high-five with coach Park and then customary namastes all around. Sindhu vs Chen Yufei in the semis! Been a while, that.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 20-12 Akane Yamaguchi: Lands a superb punch-clear in. Match points galore for Sindhu.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 18-11 Akane Yamaguchi: Surely Sindhu’s now? Error from Akane, and then a brute of a straight smash from Sindhu.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 15-11 Akane Yamaguchi: The crosscourt shots are missing the line for Sindhu and suddenly a 2-point game! The Indian gets the serve with an injection of pace. Then gets another gift from Akane.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 13-10 Akane Yamaguchi: Oh dear. Again? Sindhu with a couple of loose points, Akane with a sharp rally... and this is a close game again.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 13-7 Akane Yamaguchi: Gill Clark, on air, is convinced it is a back issue that is bothering Akane. Would actually explain some of her retrieving but then she plays a crazy backhand while spinning mid-air (even though mishit).
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 11-7 Akane Yamaguchi: The crosscourt slice-drop has been Sindhu’s best friend today. A series of wonderful points either side of Akane, and the Indian goes on a run of 5 straight points to change ends with a handy lead. But we dare you to make a prediction here!
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 7-7 Akane Yamaguchi: This match is a series of “oohh!” and “huhh?” moments now.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22, 4-4 Akane Yamaguchi: This is all rather extraordinary at the moment. Neither player at their best tbh. Both going on streaks of good points and both players making plenty of errors. And on cue Steen says “I simply don’t understand this match” after two more bizarre rallies to start the decider. Akane then produces a moment of magic at the net that is followed by an error to sum it up.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-22 Akane Yamaguchi: Oh dear, Sindhu goes for a fancy low serve and it is short. The lift goes long and we have a decider. That is just remarkable. Sindhu will be kicking herself a few minutes from now if she doesn’t win this match.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 20-20 Akane Yamaguchi: AY mishits a forehand completely. One game point saved. Then sends another forehand into the middle of the net. Sindhu saves both game points. Lovely rally the second one.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 18-20 Akane Yamaguchi: Sindhu has struggled with judgement at the back-court. Already lost one challenge there... challenges again. This is a crucial point and the shuttle has caught the line! Game points. WOW.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 18-18 Akane Yamaguchi: Sindhu’s turn to make soft errors. But she makes it 18-18 with one of her most aggressive (in terms of pace) rallies of this match.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 16-17 Akane Yamaguchi: And the little phase of recovery is more than just little at the moment. It is absolutely amazing (and not surprising) to find Akane Yamaguchi turning things around mid-match. Extraordinary athlete.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 16-14 Akane Yamaguchi: The world No 1 makes it a 1-point game and arguably the best rally of the match follows, that ends with a superb crosscourt winner for Sindhu.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 15-12 Akane Yamaguchi: What a brilliant little phase for Akane. She might not be at her best, but she is a fighter alright. She closes the gap down with a series of sharp points. Sindhu still has her nose ahead.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 11-5 Akane Yamaguchi: Would be an understatement to say Akane Yamaguchi seems below her energetic best for this one. She’s been having a tough time recently, and Sindhu is just motoring along nicely. But because this is Akane we are speaking about, writing her off would be a bad idea.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 9-5 Akane Yamaguchi: The world No 1 has had some tough recent results (especially at the Uber Cup) and there has been talk of exhaustion. She does look a bit out of it. “Way off her best,” says Gill Clark.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 5-4 Akane Yamaguchi: Brilliant straight smash and a kill at the net, nice 1-2 by Sindhu. Akane still not controlling her errors.
PV Sindhu 21-15, 2-4 Akane Yamaguchi: The longest rally of the match so far is 25 shots and that tells you a little bit about the opening game. The commentators say they are worried for Akane, but we have seen this from her before. Fully expect a response now.
PV Sindhu 21-15 Akane Yamaguchi: That was quite the opening game, to be honest. Sindhu had to catch up, then she went on a run. After the break, Akane went on a run. Then Sindhu went on an even bigger run at the end. Akane’s been erratic, Sindhu has been super solid. Some of her sliced drops landed like a dream.
PV Sindhu 17-14 Akane Yamaguchi: Five for Sindhu, then five for Akane, and now five for Sindhu. That is some pattern!
PV Sindhu 14-14 Akane Yamaguchi: And now Sindhu is on the backfoot... Akane in retrieve-everything mode and she goes into the lead at 14-12. Sindhu closes the gap to 13-14 with a straight smash to end the run of 5 straight points for Akane. Back level soon.
PV Sindhu 11-9 Akane Yamaguchi: From 5-8, a run of five straight points for Sindhu! Really, really good intensity here. And the Indian takes a 11-9 lead into the interval. Time for coach Park to give his two cents!
PV Sindhu 6-8 Akane Yamaguchi: A lovely crosscourt slice from Sindhu to make sure Akane is not running away with this opening half. Both players have started well, actually. Sindhu gets the serve back at 5-6. In theory, this is not her best side. Cuts the gap to two again with another wonderful slice crosscourt. So she would be pleased with how this is going so far.
PV Sindhu 1-1 Akane Yamaguchi: We are underway in Bangkok. Two long-ish rallies to start off. Sindhu has evidently started with the option of choosing side and picked the near end, which means she is perhaps preparing for this to go the distance.
The last time Sindhu and Yamaguchi met, it was QUITE A BATTLE. Sindhu leads H2H 13-9 but the last meeting was a controversial one at the Asian Championships in Manila.
Hello and welcome to the live blog of Thailand Open Super 500 in Bangkok. PV Sindhu takes on a familiar foe in Bangkok... a 23rd meeting against Akane Yamguchi!
Screenshots in the blog courtesy Tournament Software / Viacom