All England Open: Sindhu fends off Okuhara, enters semis

India's Pusarla V Sindhu

For Sindhu, it was a disappointment having started the match so strongly. After the interval, Sindhu moved to a 15-7 lead and kept storing on the misery on the Thai who kept hitting the net and wide to steal points. "We were bit unlucky today", Chirag said. We got 2-3 service faults in crucial moments. we were down in first game and it was same till the end.

Yamaguchi has dominated the play near the net while Sindhu has had better smashes.

After comfortably winning the first set, Prannoy failed to capitalise on the same and slumped to a 22-20, 16-21, 21-23 defeat at the hands of China's Yuxiang Huang to knock out of the tournament. She and Birmingham - as did most of England - had woken up watching snow flakes floating. The lesson in this loss to Yamaguchi for Sindhu is how to protect your lead and how to make it count. Astonishingly, the match was barely a minute old. After a few more nail-biting rallies, Sindhu sent one to the net to give a slender 11-10 lead to Okuhara at the first break. Game point for the Japanese. I was just assuming about the next point as I was trailing, I had to remain focused on each point.

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The Japanese was struggling to keep the shuttle inside the court in the starting minutes. She forced the Japanese to make unforced errors. She did all that to have the upperhand straightaway. Yamaguchi has won 7 of the last 8 points. Soon she would hit a powerful smash that kissed the net chord en route to her clinching the game.

Two points for Yamaguchi. If Sindhu was composed and covering the court nicely, she kept getting drawn to the net by those succulent Yamaguchi drops during engrossing rallies. But it was closer to the ground, in the low pick ups and desperate retrieves that Yamaguchi was gaining ascendancy with her lower centre of gravity and natural athleticism.

At the highest stage, Sindhu, who nearly teared up after conceding the match point, failed to go that extra stretch yet again.

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Sindhu loses a challenge- Yamaguchi leads 19-18.

The momentum changed in the decider and Sindhu raced to 3-0 lead early in the third game.

Sindhu overcame Okuhara after snatching five points on the spin in the 2nd game to win 21-18. It's really disappointing. One point does big things in your life. There were some long rallies like Sindhu said - a 33-shot exchange, another 44-shot back and forth rally, and many more. Okuhara then left one at the back line but Sindhu served long next. She leveled it at 17-all. She lost 21-19, 19-21, 18-21 to Akane Yamaguchi. "Having said that, I have become better at receiving and if I do well I have got a very good chance". So I am just happy I could fight back and win.

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