Playing local favourite Okuhara for the third consecutive time, Sindhu could not bring to the fore her best game and committed too many errors to go down 18-21, 8-21 in a lop-sided 47-minute contest.
The match lacked the long intense rallies, which were the hallmark of their last two contests, — the 110-minute World Championship final and last week’s 83-minute Korea Open summit clash, which Sindhu had won.
Sindhu squandered a lead of 11-9 and 18-16 in the opening game and looked completely out of sorts in the second game to bow out early.
However, World No.8 Srikanth, who clinched back-to-back titles in Indonesia and Australia this year, demolished Hong Kong’s Hu Yun 21-12 21-11 within half an hour to make it to the final eight.
The Indian will now face the recently-crowned world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
Currently locked 2-2 in the head-to-head record, Srikanth had initial success against Viktor but the Dane had an upper hand in the last two meetings, winning in straight games.
US Open Champion H S Prannoy managed to upstage Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Hao 21-16 23-21. He will now play against second seed Chinese Shi Yuqi.
World No. 2 Shi, who had reached the finals of All England Championship early this year, staved off a challenge from Syed Modi International winner Sameer Verma 10-21 21-17 21-15 in another match.
Among others, the mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy played their heart out before losing 27-29 21-16 12-21 to Indonesian fourth seeds Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto in a match that lasted an hour and six minutes.
Sindhu led 6-2 early on but Okuhara closed the gap to 8-9 before Sindhu’s straight return bamboozled the Japanese. The Indian failed to negotiate a cross-court return from Okuhara, who miscued a stroke to the net to give a 11-9 advantage to the Indian at the break.
Okuhara quickly erased the deficit and grabbed a 12-11 lead after winning a long rally with a deceptive return. The Japanese continued to dominate as she unleashed a body smash and then won a video referral to move to 15-11.
Sindhu broke the run of play with a cleverly set-up point where she used a cross court flick followed by a push at the back court.
The Indian used the wristy flick at the net to narrow the margin to 14-15 and then clawed back when the local favourite hit long.
A whipping smash and then aided by Okuhara’s two returns going to the net saw Sindhu led 18-16. But the Indian failed to make use of the advantage as Okuhara reeled off four straight points, the final stroke an on-rushing over-the-head smash to earn the bragging rights.
After another self-talk, Okuhara once again started her duel with the Indian, opening up a 3-0 lead, which she extended to 9-3.
Sindhu failed to reign in her errors, allowing Okuhara to move ahead. The Japanese eventually led 11-4 after producing a smash.
Frustration was writ large on her face as Sindhu found the net after the interval. The Indian continued to find the going tough as Okuhara led 16-5 before Sindhu again found the net.
Sindhu continued to falter with her strokes and the result was Okuhara led 19-7. With another return getting buried at the net, it was 12 match-point advantage for Okuhara, who sealed it quite easily.
Source : timesofindia
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