BWF World C’ships semi-finals as it happened: PV Sindhu stuns Chen Yufei to set up Okuhara rematch
It will be a repeat of the 2017 World Championships final.
7.15 pm: Who can forget that final in Glasgow from two years back? One of the most incredible nights in Indian sports history. Will Sindhu avenge that defeat or will Okuhara become a two-time champion? We will find out tomorrow.
That will be all from us for now. Stay tuned for more reaction and analysis. You can follow our complete coverage here.
7.01 pm: IT’S A PV SINDHU VS NOZOMI OKUHARA FINAL AT THE WORLDS AGAIN!
6.59 pm: Ratchanok looks drained now and Okuhara would be favourite to go through after taking a 17-12 lead if the Japanese avoids making errors. But then predicting anything about this match is dangerous... as just as we say that, Intanon plays a jaw-dropping drop shot to make it 15-18.
6.49 pm: Okuhara shows the power of resilience as she endured the storm of Ratchanok’s precision play and was ready to go for the kill as her opponent tired and her level of player dropped. The Japanese now leads 11-6 in the decider. Can Ratchanok fight back? It’s 9-12 now.
6.43 pm: An update from the Para Badminton Worlds...
India’s para-badminton shuttlers are assured of 12 medals and at least two gold medals as the women’s singles SL3 final and men’s doubles SL 3-4 final would be all Indian affairs.
6.39 pm: Happy but not satisfied yet, says PV Sindhu. Read here.
6.32 pm: After 54 minutes, we have a decider! Okuhara fights back against Intanon. What a match this has been!
6.30 pm: “If you are not a badminton fan and you are watching this, you will be a fan after this...” Morten Frost nails it re: Okuhara vs Intanon. It’s 18-18 in the 2nd game!
6.23 pm: Sai Praneeth might not want to watch this again but here are highlights from Momota’s stellar performance.
6.12 pm: The second game is also a delight to watch as Okuhara and Intanon are going toe-to-toe. It’s 6-6 now, can Okuhara force a decider?
6.01 pm: A crazy first game between Intanon and Okuhara. The Japanese won 9 straight points from 8-12 down and then Intanon wins 9 straight points from 12-17 down to take the opening game 21-17!
5.37 pm: Right then, time for the second women’s single semifinal to see who gets to take on PV Sindhu in the final. Its the battle of the former World Champions, with Intanon taking on Okuhara. Stay tuned for updates on that match.
5.34 pm: So, let’s all take a moment to celebrate the BRONZE MEDAL for Sai Praneeth. Remember, it’s been 36 years since an Indian finished on the podium at the Worlds. A great week, nonetheless, for the Indian shuttler. Well played, Sai!
5.29 pm: Sai Praneeth hits the smash wide and Momota wins the semi-finals in just 41 minutes. HS Prannoy remains the only player to win more than 10 points against him in both games in the tournament so far. That’s how dominant Momota has been here. Peerless, at the moment.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 8-21 Kento Momota
A very one-sided semi-final much like the women’s singles one we saw earlier, but this time the Indian shuttler is on the receiving end. Momota just too good. Sai Praneeth’s dream run has come to an end.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 8-20 Kento Momota
As defeat seems imminent, and as Frost reminds on air, good time to reflect on what was a really good week for Sai Praneeth. He has done so well to get this far but Momota’s badminton clinic has proved just too good.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 6-18 Kento Momota
“He just doesn’t know what to do today,” says Frost as Sai looks forlorn on the court. Momota is making ridiculous shots, Sai is missing simple ones. That sort of a day for the Indian.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 5-15 Kento Momota
One of the best rallies of the match that saw both players play some solid badminton, but Momota’s incredible retrieval at the net, followed by a booming smash soon after has Sai on the floor again.
Abhijeet Kulkarni: Momota showing why he is so dominant on the BWF circuit. His defence is strong and he can attack at will. Up 14-5 now.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 4-14 Kento Momota
Oh dear! Sai has Momota on the floor after a good drop, and has the entire court to kill the rally but ends up sending the push long. That point sums up his despair at the moment. Unbelievable. Momota nails the smash next up.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 3-11 Kento Momota
Finally, a jump smash that doesn’t return back for Sai. He breaks the run of eight straight points... but misjudges at the backline to let Momota have the serve back. And the top seed has raced to a massive lead at the interval. This looks like a done deal as Momota wins 10 off the last 11 points.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 2-9 Kento Momota
As if Momota’s defence was not going to be a tough nut to crack for Sai, the top seed’s offensive game has been on point and he is simply toying with the Indian at the moment. Relentless pressure.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 2-6 Kento Momota
Momota’s game at the moment is a delicious mix of aggression and touch. Doesn’t help that Sai misses out on killing a rally with a missed jump smash. The top seed is looking to be running away with this now.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 2-2 Kento Momota
An early wrong review in the second game by Sai as Momota takes the serve back. But Sai pounces on a short lift from Momota with a powerful down-the-line smash. Good defence from the Indian in the next point but Momota kills the rally with a drop shot.
Sai Praneeth 13-21, 1-0 Kento Momota
Good start for Sai as he opens the 2nd game with an inside-out smash. The Indian needs a good start here to make sure Momota does not run away with it.
Abhijeet Kulkarni: Sai Praneeth did not do much wrong in the first game. But Momota simply raised the bar after the break and raced through to a 21-13 win. Big ask for Sai to turn things around.
Sai Praneeth 13-21 Kento Momota
Eight game points for Momota, Sai saves one with a good smash... cannot do anything about the next rally as Sai nets a backhand. Easy does it for the top seed.
Sai Praneeth 12-19 Kento Momota
Sai blowing a bit and cold at the moment. A superb inside-out smash is followed by an error at the net. Tries to be inventive with a flick off the next point, but doesn’t cross the net. Another error off the next point by the Indian. Momota is in control.
Sai Praneeth 11-16 Kento Momota
“Long time since I have seen Momota as aggressive as I am seeing him today,” says Morten Frost on air. The top seed seems to have come up with the perfect game plan to keep Sai Praneeth at bay, it appears so far.
Sai Praneeth 10-14 Kento Momota
A lethargic (or too creative) return from Sai off Momota’s serve goes long. Momota has Sai under pressure in the next point and forces another error. Another over-eager tap at the net goes wide and Momota wins a 20-shot rally to go four points up.
Sai Praneeth 10-11 Kento Momota
Superb diving retrieval from Sai Praneeth from what looked like a certain crosscourt smash winner for Momota! The top seed was so far back that it turned into a winner. Brilliant from Sai. Back level again at 10-10. Momota takes a slender lead to the interval with the perfect smash off the next point.
Sai Praneeth 9-9 Kento Momota
And Sai levels it back again, with the help of couple of errors from Momota.
Sai Praneeth 7-9 Kento Momota
A 30-shot rally (longest so far) ends with a big smash from Sai Praneeth. Momota shows he can do that too in the next point, stays ahead. Plays another up-tempo point to finish with a body smash. Starting to pull away slightly here.
Sai Praneeth 6-7 Kento Momota
Sai has Momota on the run but nets a drop shot attempt. Momota then takes a 7-6 lead with a reflex body smash. You inject pace, Momota returns with interest.
Sai Praneeth 5-5 Kento Momota
A couple of errors from Sai (one forced and one unforced) as Momota levels things up.
Sai Praneeth 5-3 Kento Momota
The Indian is finding good angles on his smashes. Steady start from him. Momota responds with a booming smash to show he is not just about accuracy. Then sends a push long... Sai stays in the lead.
Sai Praneeth 3-1 Kento Momota
Good start for the Indian, starting with two points on serve and taking serve back with an aggressive point at the net.
Sai Praneeth 0-0 Kento Momota
After Sindhu’s masterclass, time for Sai Praneeth to take on world No 1 Kento Momota. Sai has lost the last three meetings between the two but he has pushed the Japanese in those matches. Sai will serve...
4.44 pm: It’s Sai Praneeth time!
He takes on Kento Momota... we are sell set. This is their 6th meeting.
4.35 pm: As we wait for Sai Praneeth’s match to start, here’s a feature on how he has made the best use of the conditions in Basel.
4.17 pm: After a super-quick first game in the women’s doubles match between Li / Du and Fukushima / Hirota, the second game is proving to be a tight affair... if the Chinese duo does force a decider, Sai Praneeth’s wait will extend. There was just a 106-shot rally between the two pairs!
4.02 pm: Another year, another big tournament final. Sindhu dominates in-form Chen Yufei to reach third consecutive title clash at the Worlds. Match report here.
3.43 pm: A 90-second highlights package of Sindhu’s win. Enjoy, as we take a quick breather.
3.39 pm: A quick look at the second game stats for Sindhu, before we turn our attention to Sai Praneeth.
3.31 pm: Some more reactions to Sindhu’s dominating win.
3.23 pm: Sindhu reaches her third consecutive World C’ship final and she was so dominating in the match that Yufei could not have done anything today. Yufei managed to win 2 consecutive points only twice in the match. What an astonishing result!
PV Sindhu 21-7, 21-14 Chen Yufei
Well, too little too late? Chen saves two match points... AND FITTINGLY PERHAPS, THE MATCH ENDS WITH A SERVICE ERROR FROM CHEN! SINDHU HAS REACHED THE FINAL FOR THE THIRD TIME IN A ROW!
PV Sindhu 21-7, 20-13 Chen Yufei
Finally! Trailing 7-21, 10-19 Chen Yufei finally wins TWO POINTS in a row for the FIRST TIME in the entire match. But Sindhu now has 8 match points! Chen saves one with a good drop.
PV Sindhu 21-7, 19-11 Chen Yufei
Well, Sindhu gets a challenge wrong just to show she cannot do EVERYTHING right today. Chen has the serve at 10-18... it seems like she had the rally under control... but leaves her side of the court open and gifts the point to Sindhu! The Indian misses a smash, can Chen finally win two in a row?
PV Sindhu 21-7, 17-9 Chen Yufei
Chen gets the serve back on an error from Sindhu and she gives it right back! Sindhu misses the lines on her smash but follows that up with a well-constructed point (that ends with another Chen error). Chen YET TO WIN CONSECUTIVE POINTS!
PV Sindhu 21-7, 14-7 Chen Yufei
A 26-shot rally in the second point after the break and Sindhu takes that as well to extend her lead. Another mini-rally follows that ends with Chen sending a lift long. Dominance continues.
PV Sindhu 21-7, 11-7 Chen Yufei
Sindhu leading 21-7, 11-7 and quite incredibly, Chen Yufei has not won 2 consecutive points even once in this entire match so far! Astonishing. Yufei reached the number of points she earned in the first game before the mid-game break. But Sindhu is in control.
PV Sindhu 21-7, 10-7 Chen Yufei
Chen is simply unable to get her lengths right whenever she tries pushing Sindhu to the backcourt. Most of the errors from that aspect of her. Chen gets a smash right to make it 6-9 but Sindhu plays a superb backhand drop to go up 10-6. Fist pump from Chen as she kills the next point with a body smash.
PV Sindhu 21-7, 6-5 Chen Yufei
Much better from Chen as plays a forehand slice to perfection to kill a long rally. Longest of the match so far, in fact, at 36 shots. This could get interesting now.
PV Sindhu 21-7, 6-4 Chen Yufei
After trading points in the early exchanges, Sindhu has a two-point lead as Chen nets a forehand. First roar of the second game from the Indian. Chen then pounces on a short return from Sindhu to close the gap, but sends a forehand drop wide.
PV Sindhu 21-7, 2-2 Chen Yufei
Here we go, we guess? A confident crosscourt smash from Chen, that lands in. She was struggling with that shot in the opening game. Sindhu then plays a good lift that lands well in, Chen’s judgement pretty bad there. Sindhu then returns the favour.
Abhijeet Kulkarni: Sindhu simply schooled Yufei in that opening game. She covered the court with authority and always kept the Chinese on the backfoot. The Indian takes the opening game 21-7 in just 15 minutes.
First game stats: Sindhu dominant from the get go...
PV Sindhu 21-7 Chen Yufei - FIRST BLOOD PV SINDHU!
A delightful return of serve from Sindhu and she converts her second game point. Dream start for PV Sindhu. Surely Chen Yufei will improve in the second game? Surely she cannot make life *this* easy for the Indian?
PV Sindhu 20-6 Chen Yufei
A quiet fist-bump, no big roar. Sindhu is in control, moving around the court with ease. A superb body smash puts her 19-5 ahead. Chen’s lazy retrieval gives 14 game points to Sindhu.
PV Sindhu 17-4 Chen Yufei
Frustration for Chen after she takes the serve on the back of an error from Sindhu. The Indian not giving any breathing space at the moment, the 3rd seed looks suffocated, in a manner of speaking. Another gun smash from Sindhu!
PV Sindhu 14-3 Chen Yufei
Two more loose points from Chen to restart after interval. Sindhu then challenges a call on the right baseline... and she is right. Nothing going Chen’s way at the moment.
Abhijeet Kulkarni, our badminton correspondent: Sindhu leads 11-3 and apart from one point when Yufei attacked her to win a point, the Indian has looked completely at ease in the first eight minutes of this match.
PV Sindhu 11-3 Chen Yufei
A good forehand block from Sindhu that catches Chen short. And then a brilliant inside-out smash after a 27-shot rally. Sharp stuff from Sindhu as she goes up 10-3. And then Chen hits a forehand wide. It’s been a dominant start for the Indian.
PV Sindhu 8-3 Chen Yufei
Errors continue from Chen as she hits a simple forehand from backcourt into the net. Another backhand error after that, with a lethargic looking block. Six-point lead for Sindhu, who then misses the angle on her smash.
PV Sindhu 6-2 Chen Yufei
Chen injects pace into the rally, keeps the shuttle flat and hits a smash well to retake serve. And then first big fist bump from Sindhu, as she nails the crosscourt smash. And then hits a cross-push to take a 4-point lead.
PV Sindhu 4-1 Chen Yufei
First long rally of the match, both players hitting some good drops but Sindhu, with the help of the net chord, gets the point. Chen then sends another push long.
PV Sindhu 2-1 Chen Yufei
Chen starts with an unforced error. Sindhu does too, when she had an open court to smash, ends up hitting it long. And then a backhand error from Chen. Nerves from both players .
PV Sindhu 0-0 Chen Yufei
Warm-ups are done. PV Sindhu will receive at the near side. Here we go!
2.36 pm: Chen Yufei has been on a winning spree in 2019. The All England champion, no less. Can Sindhu extend her winning record? Both players come into this match on the back of pretty marathon efforts. Both were on court for an excess of 70 minutes in the quarterfinals.
2.33 pm: The last time Sindhu and Chen Yufei faced each other in the World Championships semi-final in 2017, the Indian was a runaway winner in a match that lasted 48 minutes. It was one of Sindhu’s best performances, ever. She will need to be at her best once again today. Chen and Sindhu walk on to the court! Goosebumps for us.... you?
2.32 pm: We have live images, folks... the match is live on Star Sports 1 in India. Time for PV Sindhu!
2.29 pm: Details about PV Sindhu’s opponent for the semi-final, Chen Yufei.
Rank (seed): 3 (4)
Form in 2019: Chen has been on a phenomenal run in the last year, starting with her first major triumph at China Open in 2018 (during the course of which she had defeated Sindhu). Since that, she has since won the All England this year, to go with the Swiss Open, Indonesia Open and Australian Open titles. Her win-loss record this year is a phenomenal 39/5 compared to Sindhu’s 19/9. There should be no surprise that, given her form, Chen leads the race for the Olympic qualification.
Previous meetings: Sindhu leads H2H 5-3
2.22 pm: Sindhu’s match against Chen Yufei is a repeat of the 2017 World Championships semi-final, when the Indian produced one of her best all-round performances in memory. Sindhu met the rising star of women’s singles most recently at the Indonesia Open as well, and won again comfortably.
In her six World Championships appearances so far, Sindhu has never lost against a player from China.
But this match is going to be anything but easy.
2.20 pm: In ten minutes from now, the coverage will start on Saturday and the first match is PV Sindhu’s.
2.12 pm: There is a perception in the badminton circle that Tai Tzu can be vulnerable when made to play outside of her comfort zone, where she dictates the rallies, and can be beaten if the opponent can sustain that pressure and find a few winners. On Friday in Basel, Switzerland, Sindhu not only managed to do that in the next two games but once again proved how she is one of the big tournament players.
Read: How a power-packed PV Sindhu broke down Tai Tzu Ying’s game and resolve
2.06 pm: Here’s some reading for you on what was a memorable Friday in Basel...
Women’s doubles combination of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had started that dream run when they won a medal for India after 28 years at the Worlds in 2011. PV Sindhu, with four medals in five editions since, and Saina Nehwal, with her two medals (2015 and 2017), had ensured that India had not returned empty handed from the championships.
Whether anyone admitted or not, that run was under serious threat this year.
How that sentiment has changed now!
READ: Sindhu and Sai Praneeth’s historic wins make Basel 2019 a pleasant surprise for India
Hello and welcome to live updates from the sixth and penultimate day of the Badminton World Championships in Basel.
When the Indian badminton contingent headed to Basel, Switzerland, for the 2019 BWF World Championships last week, many fans wondered whether the shuttlers could continue the six-year streak of winning at least one medal in the prestigious event.
Thanks to PV Sindhu and B Sai Praneeth’s wins on Friday, India will have two podium finishes at the 25th edition of the marquee event.
It was a fantastic Friday for Indian badminton!
Sindhu first came from behind to pack off Tai Tzu 12-21, 23-21, 21-19 in 71 minutes and Sai Praneeth then ended India’s 36-year wait for a men’s singles medal with a 24-22, 21-14 win over Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie of Indonesia.
Sindhu’s fifth semi-final appearance at the Worlds also means that she continues to hold the record of bagging 50% of India’s overall medals tally from the championships, which now stands at 10. Only two of them – Prakash Padukone in 1983 and B Sai Praneeth this year – have been won by men’s shuttlers.
Now, that is done... can the two go on further and book their places in the finals on Sunday? Let’s find out.