AN 84-MINUTE THRILLER: And breathe! What a wonderful exhibition of badminton between two incredible players. Sindhu looked down and out trailing 12-16 in the decider but she bounced back in some style to take the decider 21-18. Hope you enjoyed that match as much as we did! Report and analysis coming up soon.
PV SINDHU HAS WON THE MATCH, 20-22 21-18 21-18! In yet another titanic battle between the two, Sindhu takes the decider 21-18 as she sends a tap to Okuhara’s left and it kisses the line! Okuhara challenges the call but it’s in. AND IT’s DELIGHT FOR SINDHU.
DECIDING GAME, Sindhu 18-20 Okuhara: Yellow card for Sindhu after numerous warnings for delaying the game and she responds in the best possible way by winning a long rally with a deft drop. Then nets the next point! Exccellent net play in the next rally gives Sindhu a 19-18 lead and then she HAS TWO MATCH POINTS!
DECIDING GAME, Sindhu 16-17 Okuhara: Any hopes of a comeback, has to start here. Sindhu cuts the lead down to three and then two with some good net play. AND AN OUTSTANDING RALLY FOLLOWS! Sindhu sends Okuhara scurrying around the court, and eventually ends up getting the point. And make it four points in a row for Sindhu! IT’s BACK LEVEL! Sindhu then sends the shuttle long and decides to challenge - a tad too late.
DECIDING GAME, Sindhu 12-16 Okuhara: A very physical point to start the home stretch, and Sindhu makes it 11-11 with some patient rallying. Okuhara takes the attack to her in the next point with a body smash. And then Sindhu sends a toss long. Okuhara takes a 3-point lead (which could be massive at this point!) as Sindhu nets a forehand block. A lung-busting rally follows and Sindhu takes the point as her reverse slice does not come back to her side of the court. Okuhara increase the tempo once again and restores her 3-point lead and Sindhu is on her knees. Make that a four-point lead now as the Indian sends a backhand block into the net.
DECIDING GAME, Sindhu 10-11 Okuhara: Sindhu in a rush this time? She sends a forehand wide and it’s back to being level, at 10-10. Three straight points for OKUHARA and she has the lead! After a rally where Sindhu moved Okuhara around the court, the Indian sends yet another forehand wide!
OKUHARA prays before entering the court as we head to the final stretch...
DECIDING GAME, Sindhu 10-9 Okuhara: And Sindhu moves into the lead now! Okuhara trying too hard? Sindhu takes a two-point lead with a delicate block that catches Okuhara off guard. Okuhara then levels it up (FOR THE GAZILLIONTH TIME IN THIS MATCH) with two unforced errors from Sindhu. The net chord then comes to the Indian’s rescue who regains a one-point lead. Okuhara challenges a lift that seemed in - and it is IN! Two-point lead for Sindhu once again.
Can she take a lead into the final change of ends? Not just yet, Okuhara claws one back.
DECIDING GAME, Sindhu 6-6 Okuhara: Sindhu claws back once again with a series of quick points. She is upping the tempo here. Oh dear! And then misses a smash running to the net from the baseline! That point was there for the taking. Lucky break for Okuhara. It’s then back to a one-point game, as Okuhara makes an error at the net. Another netted-shuttle, and it’s - SURPRISE SURPRISE - all square once again!
DECIDING GAME, Sindhu 2-5 Okuhara: Okuhara starts the decider with two points, Sindhu claws one back. First long rally of the decider follows, which Okuhara ends up winning. Follows that up with an exquisite reverse-slice! She’s up 4-1 now and off a great start. And that’s when Sindhu hits a brutal crosscourt smash to make it 4-2. And a quick exchange follows that saw Okuhara run back and forth to retrieve. Sindhu’s smash is called in but Okuhara successfully challenges to regain a 3-point lead!
Second game, Sindhu 21-18! AND JUST LIKE THAT IT’S BACK LEVEL! Two errors from Okuhara out of nowhere - she was in the groove for a while there but she lets Sindhu back in the match. And then Sindhu takes 3 in a row to make it 19-18 and then Okuhara sends a smash wide and can’t believe her eyes. TWO GAMES POINTS FOR SINDHU...
AND WE ARE GOING THE DISTANCE! Okuhara tries to be too cute with a Tai Tzu Ying-type fake smash - finds the net. SINDHU TAKES THE SECOND GAME!
Second game, Sindhu 16-18 Okuhara: Sindhu keeps her 3-point lead as Okuhara is disappointed with herself for another error. But follows that up with a body smash at Sindhu and then pounces at the net with Sindhu scrambling. Brings the deficit back to one. Deja vu off the next point as Sindhu can’t get enough distance on a lift from the net, Okuhara finishes the point off with another smash. It’s back at 16-16! And with 4 points in a row for Okuhara, she takes a two-point lead! Sindhu struggling once again...
Second game, Sindhu 15-13 Okuhara: Wouldn’t you know it? Soon after the break Okuhara makes it 11-11. And then the lead is back with Sindhu with the Japanese netting a backhand. Sindhu makes it 14-11 - first instance of a three-point lead in the match! Okuhara sends it wide. Sindhu had the Japanese running around in the next point but makes a silly error off her backhand, but a good jump smash gives her a 15-12 lead. Sindhu then challenges a line call which was called in - it is in. 15-13 in favour of the Indian now, as the players take another breather.
Second game, Sindhu 11-9 Okuhara: At no point in this match so far has either player taken a lead more than two points! INCREDIBLY TIGHT. Sindhu up 9-7 in the second game. It’s then back to 9-9! Two errors by Sindhu, as she hits a tap into the net after retrieving tougher shuttles. And once again Okuhara is left on the floor after a 24-shot rally! Sindhu takes the point with a deft drop shot. Serving at 10-9, another long rally ensues. She then closes in on the net seeing Okuhara in trouble, and gets the smash right. Heads into the mid-game break with a 2-point lead.
Second game, Sindhu 8-6 Okuhara: It’s now Okuhara’s turn to be left on the floor - she’s all smiles as Sindhu hits a perfect jump smash, inside out! A break in play then as both players need a breather. Two-point lead for Sindhu now as Okuhara misjudges a high serve.
Second game, Sindhu 6-6 Okuhara: Okuhara takes the lead (albeit briefly) with a cross-court forehand smash and then makes an error of the next point to make it 4-4. Sindhu then sends a simple tap into the net (as you could hear Gopichand go “HEYY!”) followed by a jump smash that goes well wide. Okuhara leads 6-4. Net chord comes to Sindhu’s help then as she makes it 6-5 and then a bad backhand smash by Okuhara makes it 6-6!
Second game, Sindhu 3-3 Okuhara: The second game starts with another long rally, resembling table tennis at times with the speed of the shots being traded. Okuhara gets the point with her smash that has been her key weapon so far. Sindhu makes it 1-1 and then takes a 2-1 lead thanks to two errors from Okuhara. And then it’s 3-1 to Sindhu as she stretches to retrieve and then sends a lift that lands in! Okuhara on the offensive in the next point, smashing at Sindhu to make it 2-3 and then it’s 3-3 as Sindhu sends a forehand wide.
FIRST GAME, OKUHARA 22-20: Game point then for Okuhara as Sindhu sends a backhand wide and challenges just to catch her breath. Okuhara then gets the game with a half-drop that kisses the line! Sindhu challenges and turns out it is JUSSSST in!
FIRST BLOOD, OKUHARA.
Game 1, Sindhu 20-20 Okuhara: PV Sindhu makes it 18-18 with the point of the match so far! Joint-longest rally at 28 shots that ends with a powerful down the line forehands winner by Sindhu. And another wonderful rally follows, which Okuhara takes with a drop shot and leaves Sindhu gasping on her knees. A breather then, and soon it’s 19-19 as Okuhara sends a lift long. First game point of the match goes to Sindhu! Okuhara with a wild forehand that sails beyond the baseline. Sindhu serves for the game - and a long rally, results in an error from Sindhu as she finds the middle of the net with a smash! String breaks and a breather at 20-20!
Game 1, Sindhu 17-17 Okuhara: Sindhu takes a 14-13 lead as Okuhara nets the shuttle on her serve and the Indian makes it 15-13 as Okuhara sends one wide. Okuhara then ends another long-ish early with a smash down the line that Sindhu can only net. She moves Sindhu around with a combination of drops and lifts in the next point to make it 15-15. Okuhara then edges ahead after Sindhu nets a simple smash. Two straight points for Sindhu after that and then she takes the lead! Wow, we have lost track of how many times the lead has changed hands.
Game 1, Sindhu 13-12 Okuhara: Calm words from Coach Gopi at the break and Sindhu levels the game 11-11 all with a fantastic backhand cross-court drop shot! Perhaps the point of the match follows as Sindhu is done in by Okuhara’s phenomenal returning ability. The longest rally so far - 28 shots! Sindhu keeps smashing, Okuhara keeps returning - and takes the point as Sindhu moves into the net and misses an overhead! WHAT A POINT. Sindhu takes the next point after the players take a small breather to level things and then noses ahead into the lead with a drop shot.
Game 1, Sindhu 10-11 Okuhara: Okuhara levels it up once again, with a body smash that Sindhu can’t retrieve. Nets the next point and jumps in frustration, as Sindhu moves ahead 9-8. Okuhara makes it 9-9 at the end of a good rally, as Sindhu nets a down-the-line smash from the Japanese. Sindhu’s turn to then to fist-pump as she gets her smash going down the middle. And then it’s back to 10-10 again, followed by a poor overhead forehand from Sindhu into the middle of the net to give the Japanese the lead at the break.
PHEW. TIME FOR A BREATHER! This is neck-and-neck....
Game 1, Sindhu 8-6 Okuhara: Sindhu is the first player to get a 2-point lead (6-4) as Okuhara sends the shuttle wide down Sindhu’s right, challenges the call which is unsuccessful. Two errors from Sindhu follow - a forehand gone wide followed by a misjudged shuttle at the baseline and it’s back to 6-6. Sindhu then gets two more points from two errors by Okuhara to reinstate the 2-point lead. Very tight, as expected.
Game 1, Sindhu 4-4 Okuhara: Again, Okuhara and Sindhu trade service breaks. Sindhu with the first clear-cut winner of the match, with a well-placed drop forehand overhead drop shot. She then takes the lead for the first time with a well-judged leave at the baseline. Another wonderful rally follows, with Sindhu showing excellent retrieving skills at the net - lunging and returning the shuttle more than once, but Okuhara gets the point as her lift lands just on the line.
Game 1, Sindhu 2-2 Okuhara: Both players trade early service breaks, they can’t hold serve just yet. We already have the first long rally of the match with ends with Okuhara netting the shuttle.
PV Sindhu to start proceedings...
07:15 pm: Almost time for the match. The players are out in the middle. Remember, Sindhu has been stretched all the way in her first two games, while Okuhara breezed through her first two matches.
Sindhu survived a lapse of focus vs Jindapol but nemesis Okuhara won’t offer such leeway, writes Jaideep Vaidya. Read that here as we get set for the start of the match. May the best lady win!
Head to head
Okuhara has a slender lead over Sindhu in the head-to-head between the two.
World Championship epic
Any Sindhu v Okuhara match is a chance to relive that unforgettable World Championships final.
Senior Sports Journalist Prem Panicker wrote a piece befitting that match. Read here.
07:05 pm: The All England quarterfinal may not be as big a stage as the World Championship final for either of the players. But Sindhu is desperate to re-write the record book that shows that the 22-year-old hasn’t progressed beyond the last eight in the prestigious tournament so far while Okuhara is looking to find the title winning touch again after being troubled by a knee-injury.
Read more here.
07:00 pm: Hello all and welcome to The Field’s live blog of the quarter-final match at the prestigious All England Open badminton championship where PV Sindhu will take on Nozomi Okuhara. Yes, it’s the rematch of the epic World Championship final last year and it promises to be a cracker once again.