End of India’s contention as Sindhu loses in three games.
RESULT: Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 13-21 Okuhara — another memorable chapter in the rivalry between these two fierce competitors. The quality was not high from both simultaneously but both played some seriously good badminton on their own. Unfortunately for Sindhu, her wait for All England title continues and India’s challenge is over for 2020 in Arena Birmingham. That will be all from us.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 13-21 Okuhara: WHAT A TURNAROUND BY OKUHARA! It looked she was still in Basel when Sindhu steamrolled through the opening game but she bounced back in some style.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 13-20 Okuhara: Seven match points for Okuhara.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 13-19 Okuhara: A lovely crosscourt drop from Sindhu but too little too late surely. What seemed like good review from Okuhara at the baseline is just about in from Sindhu. A SENSATIONAL DIVING RETURN from Okuhara in the next rally but Sindhu just about wins that point.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 9-18 Okuhara: Okuhara extends her lead with quick couple of points. All but done here.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 9-16 Okuhara: A couple of point for Sindhu to close the gap. Steadier from the Indian.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 7-16 Okuhara: Frustration from Sindhu again as she is unable to kill off a rally and nets a routine smash. Absolutely nothing going her way at the moment. What a turnaround by Okuhara.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 7-13 Okuhara: Okuhara on the turf as Sindhu FINALLY manages to win one of the longer rallies in the last few minutes. Sensational from both players, Okuhara once again returning EVERYTHING but Sindhu finds the winner with a good drop shot.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 6-13 Okuhara: Rush of blood for Okuhara as she nets a forehand. Sindhu then challenges a call on the left sideline after a smash....it’s NO GOOD. Serve with Okuhara again.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 5-11 Okuhara: You don’t see that often. Sindhu dropping her racket in frustration after a body smash by Okuhara. The Japan star plays a STUNNING RALLY where she returns EVERYTHING thrown at her. She is running away with this decider.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 5-8 Okuhara: a good service return by Sindhu followed by an unforced error by Okuhara. Can the Indian find some momentum now?
(CORRECTION: The scores for the third game were reversed in the last few updates)
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 3-8 Okuhara: The smashes, when they click, are still working for Sindhu but the frequency has gone down. Largely down to Okuhara keeping the shuttle flat and extending the rallies. All Japan at the moment. Stunning point to go up by five points.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 2-6 Okuhara: Sindhu has lost her rhythm clearly. She is losing her balance a bit too often in rallies. A handy lead for the Japanese in the decider.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 3-2 Okuhara: What a rally! Good news for Sindhu, she seems to be moving much better in this game. Bad news, she lost steam towards the end of that marathon exchange. That’s not a good sign. Lucky net chord in the next point for the Japanese. Followed by another huge roar by Sindhu as she nails a overhead down the line.
Third game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21, 1-1 Okuhara: Exchange of serves to start the decider. A loud roar from Sindhu as she levels it up 1-1.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21 Okuhara: Here’s how the second game panned out. Almost a mirror image of the first game. Sindhu up against it now.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21 Okuhara: Okuhara is back to her energetic best. First game was Basel-esque, second game was Glasgow-esque. The result? Okuhara with momentum going into the decider.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 15-21 Okuhara: One game point saved after a sharp rally ends with Okuhara netting a backhand. Second game point saved by an angry-looking smash from Sindhu. Third game point saved by a sensational around-the-head smash by Sindhu. But she nets a forehand then, Okuhara will not be denied.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 12-20 Okuhara: Two good points for Sindhu. The Indian keeps the rally flat and quick to pocket a couple of good points. But the energised Okuhara nails a smash to get the serve back. Sindhu looked really tired going for that shot. Not looking good for her. Game points galore for Okuhara.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 10-18 Okuhara: The commentators reckon this momentum shift is largely due to Okuhara going for the less-favoured short serve instead of the high serves that Sindhu was dominating in the opening game.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 10-17 Okuhara: An unsuccessful challenge by Okuhara gives Sindhu a breathing space. But the relentless Okuhara takes the next point after a long rally that ends in an error from the Indian.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 9-16 Okuhara: Okuhara maintains a five-point lead after an error by Sindhu where she puts a tap long. Make that a six-point lead as Okuhara plays a BEAUTIFUL crosscourt flick at the net. Sindhu under the pump, as she sends a serve return long.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 8-13 Okuhara: A tired looking rally from Sindhu to resume action followed by a body smash by Okuhara. This is now turning into a battle against the wall for the Indian.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 8-11 Okuhara: A proper battle this now! Another superb rally from both shuttlers but Sindhu misjudges at the baseline again. Both players moving like gazelles during that point. Okuhara definitely seems sharper of the two at the moment though during the mid-game interval.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 8-10 Okuhara: A clever service return from Sindhu but she gives the serve back with an error. Okuhara returns the favour. Still a two-point game.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 6-8 Okuhara: A couple of errors from Okuhara followed by a superb Sindhu half-smash, and a roar to boot, as the Indian finds her footing again in this game. Okuhara still in the lead though but Sindhu finding her rhythm.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 4-7 Okuhara: Sindhu under pressure now. Okuhara has picked up her game. This is more like it, as a contest between these two! Sindhu’s turn to look frustrated as Okuhara is gliding around the court like we know she can. Superb intensity from the Japanese here at the moment. Sindhu then forces an error on Okuhara’s backhand.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 2-5 Okuhara: Sensational! This is what we have come to expect from these two! The longest rally of the match so far, goes up to 38 shots with both players moving each other around the court. It ends with a delicate drop hitting the net from the Indian.
Second game, Sindhu 21-12, 2-4 Okuhara: Incredibly, Okuhara has the lead for the first time in the match at 2-1. And Sindhu responds with a superb crosscourt smash. But this is a much better start by the Japanese star to this game. The tempo has picked up and she is staying in the rallies longer. She moves ahead again.
First game, Sindhu 21-12 Okuhara: This is how the opening game panned out. Sindhu never lost control.
First game, Sindhu 21-12 Okuhara: Not quite Basel-esque, but this is a brilliant start for PV Sindhu as she closes out the opening game in 18 minutes. Converts her second game point. Okuhara under pressure again, can she bounce back ?
First game, Sindhu 20-11 Okuhara: Nine game points for Sindhu as Okuhara looks frustrated with an unforced error again. Story of the game.
First game, Sindhu 19-10 Okuhara: Well one thing that has gone Okuhara’s way is the reviewing. Second good one as she tries to close the gap but then makes a backhand error in the next rally. A roar of approval from the Indian.
First game, Sindhu 18-8 Okuhara: Okuhara breaks the streak of four points to Sindhu with a good down the line winner but that is followed by an error at the net. She cannot put together points in a row.
First game, Sindhu 17-7 Okuhara: The Japanese star has no answers at the moment. Far too many errors from her and Sindhu is playing a clean game. Okuhara is frustrated clearly.
First game, Sindhu 13-7 Okuhara: Everything going Sindhu’s way at the moment. First, another great defensive rally that ends with an Okuhara error. After that, a lucky net chord for the Indian. Okuhara breaks the streak with a good smash.
First game, Sindhu 11-6 Okuhara: Swagger! You don’t see that often. Sindhu started walking to the sideline even before the shuttle landed. A superb reflex push into empty court as she sends back a body smash. How did Sindhu win that! Ridiculous.
First game, Sindhu 10-6 Okuhara: The Japanese responds with a smash of her own but Sindhu takes the next two points. A five-point lead for the Indian now. Okuhara’s turn to review a call now and she gets it right. Sindhu knew too, really.
First game, Sindhu 8-4 Okuhara: Misjudgment at the baseline by Sindhu as she confidently appeals only for it to be oveturned. Takes out the frustration on her service return next up. No answer from Sindhu.
First game, Sindhu 7-3 Okuhara: Smiles from Sindhu after she wins a rally that she dominated. 25 shots, plenty of aggression from Sindhu, good defence from Okuhara but the point goes Indian’s way. Next up, a rally that Okuhara dominates. The game is heating up.
First game, Sindhu 6-2 Okuhara: A lovely backhand flick by Sindhu to mark the end of a sharp rally. It is followed by an error by Sindhu but Okuhara pays it back with another couple of errors.
First game, Sindhu 3-0 Okuhara: A lovely drop shot by Sindhu to win the first point and that is followed by a couple of errors from Okuhara. Good start for the Indian.
8.16 pm: Sindhu to serve. Here we go.
8.14 pm: Both players have been in fine form so far in Birmingham. Yet to drop a game. The warm-up is almost done.
8.13 pm: This is the 17th meeting between Sindhu & Okuhara. Sindhu leads 9-7. The last meeting? A stunning game in Basel at the Worlds when Sindhu blew Okuhara away. Here’s how the results have been since Rio 2016.
8.09 pm: An impressive for Viktor Axelsen before the marquee match of the day:
8.05 pm: Hello and welcome to the live updates of the quarter-final match between PV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara at the All England Championships on Friday.
The former and the current world champions have been involved in many a tantalising battle in the past. Both players know each other’s strengths and their on-court rivalry has made for some fascinating viewing.
The coronavirus outbreak around the world has cast a pall over the event and many top badminton players have expressed their dismay at the Badminton World Federation for not making any changes to their calendar. Among Indians, former world No 1 Saina Nehwal, her husband P Kashyap, HS Prannoy and Ajay Jayaram have joined the chorus for international events to either be cancelled or postponed.
But for the time being, all eyes are on Sindhu and Okuhara. Will they dish out another two-hour slugfest? After a lean period following her first-ever world championships triumph, Sindhu had gone off the boil but has looked in good touch in each of her wins so far in Birmingham.
Stay tuned for the updates.