World No 3 PV Sindhu put in a dominant performance against Japan’s Sayaka Sato to book her place in the semi-finals of the year-ending event, on a day K Srikanth’s hopes of winning the Dubai World Superseries Finals came to an end.
Sindhu found it easy going against the error-prone Sato, winning 21-13, 21-12 in just 36 minutes to record her second win in two days. She was stretched in her opening match by China’s He Bingjiao before coming through in three games on Wednesday.
With the result, Sindhu has now confirmed her place in the final four, as Bingjiao lost her match against world No 2 Akane Yamaguchi. Sindhu’s final group stage match against Yamaguchi on Friday will decide who finishes top of Group A.
It was only early on in the two games that Sato was able to stay close to Sindhu. The Japanese started with a 2-0 lead, before Sindhu pulled away steadily, leading 11-8 during the first game interval.
She was controlling the pace of the game early on, and her court coverage was top-notch while Sato struggled to keep the shuttle inside the lines. After the interval, Sindhu stepped it up, to win 7 out of the last 10 points to wrap up the game.
The second game saw Sato switch strategy to engage Sindhu in long rallies, but the Indian seemed up for it. The third point of the game was the longest rally of the match with both players keeping the shuttle in play instead of forcing a winner. Sindhu’s patience eventually paid off as Sato netted.
From there on, it seemed the last bit of fight left in Sato was over, as the world No 12 started making errors left, right and center – at one point she hit a smash off a tame Sindhu return, bang in the middle of the net, from a few inches away.
Towards the end, it was one-way traffic and Sindhu did not have to shift out of third gear to register a comfortable win.
In Group B, Ratchanok Intanon defeated the title favourite Tai Tzu Ying in three games and put herself in pole position to finish on top. The player finishing second in Group B will face the winner of Group A. Either way, it promises to be a tough semi-final for Sindhu, if she has go to all the way.