It turned out to be memorable evening for Indian badminton as B Sai Praneeth and PV Sindhu reached semi-finals to assure themselves of a medal at the 25th edition of the BWF World Championships in Basel on Friday.
Sai Praneeth recorded a stunning straight-game win over Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie to seal the semi-final spot and end India’s 36-year agonising wait for a men’s singles medal. World No 19 Praneeth, who has been nominated for the Arjuna Award this year, notched up a 24-22, 21-14 win over Asian Games gold medallist and world No 4 Christie in the quarterfinals to assure himself of a medal at the prestigious tournament.
Badminton legend Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a men’s singles medal – a bronze – in the 1983 World Championship.
A little while before that, Sindhu staged a stunning come-from-behind victory over Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in the quarterfinals and inched closer to an elusive gold medal at the World Championships.
Sindhu, who won back-to-back silver medals in the last two editions of the prestigious tournament, edged past former world no 1 and Asian Games gold medallist Tzu Ying 12-21, 23-21, 21-19 in a pulsating contest that lasted 71 minutes, assuring herself of a fifth medal at the worlds.
The two players were at the receiving end of plenty of praise on Twitter after their memorable wins: