Defending champion PV Sindhu dished out a stellar fare to defeat former World Champion Ratchanok Intanon 21-13, 21-15 and enter the women's singles final of the $350,000 India Open at Sirifort Sports Complex on Saturday.
It proved to be a long wait for the fans with Sindhu's match beginning post 10 pm, thanks to the bizarre scheduling. But the World No 3 ensured it was worth the wait with her sublime 49 minutes performance against the Thai, who had held a superior 4-2 head-to-head record.
In the final on Sunday, Sindhu, the lone surviving Indian in the tournament, will meet Beiwen Zhang. The American of Chinese descent rallied to beat Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi 14-21, 21-12, 21-19.
Sindhu, delightful in her array of strokes and solid defence, ran away with the opening game in 20 minutes. In the contest, peppered with entertaining and fast-paced rallies, Sindhu showed brilliant court craft. She was impressive in her deception of strokes as well as net play to dominate the match against tricky Intanon. The Indian ace took 12 straight points to go up 12-4 in the opening game before taking the lead.
Sindhu, the Olympic silver medallist, then opened up 11-7 lead in the second game. And though Intanon closed the gap after the break, the Indian quickly seized control to hold six match points before closing out the contest.
Earlier the Indian challenge in mixed doubles too got over when Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra went down fighting to the superior Danish pairing of Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen 16-21, 19-21.
"We are not satisfied with the performance today but overall it was a good tournament. We couldn't finish at podium but we will carry the momentum in the next tournaments. As a pair we will next play at German Open and All England Championship," said Chopra.
Earlier China's Shi Yuqi outlasted Iskandar Zulkarnain of Malaysia 18-21, 21-10, 21-19 to set up men's final with third seed and last year's finalist Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei. Chou beat beat China Qiao Bin 23-21, 21-16 in the other semifinal.
Zulkarnain, who accounted for two Indians -- Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma -- on his way to the semifinals, committed errors at the crucial stages to go down after an hour and nine minutes battle.
Zulkarnain, who trains with great Lee Chong Wei back home, once again impressed with his flamboyant strokes and strong defence. The Chinese, a finalist at All England Championships last year, however, matched him with quiet confidence despite losing the opening game. And quickly fought back to draw parity. The decider expectedly turned out to be a close affair, although Zulkarnain led 16-12 in the final game, he gave into errors. The Chinese capitalized on it and clinched the contest after Zulkarnain left his return thinking it to be long.
Results: Semifinals: Men's singles: 3-Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) bt Qiao Bin (Chn) 23-21, 21-16, 4-Shi Yuqi (Chn) bt Iskandar Zulkarnain (Mas) 18-21, 21-10, 21-19.
Women's singles: 5-Beiwen Zhang (USA) bt 6-Cheung Ngan Yi (Hkg) 14-21, 21-12, 21-19, 1-PV Sindhu bt Ratchanok Intanon 21-13, 21-15.
Men's doubles: 1-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo(Ina) bt Mohammad Ahsan Hendra Setiawan (Ina) 21-11, 21-16, Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den) bt Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong (Chn) 21-19, 21-14.
Women's doubles: 3-Greysia Polii/ Apriyani Rahayu (Ina) bt 1-Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Christinna Pedersen(Den) 21-14, 19-21, 21-18, 2-Jongkolphan Kititharaku/ Rawinda Prajongjai (Tha) bt Du Yue/Li Yinhui (Chn) 21-19, 21-17.
Mixed doubles: 5-Mathias Christiansen/Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt 8-Pranaav Jerry Chopra/ N. Sikki Reddy 21-16, 21-19, Praveen Jordan/ Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Ina) bt 6-He Jiting/Du Yue (Chn) 21-19, 24-22.