Sindhu beats Okuhara in straight games

P V Sindhu celebrates after defeating Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in their women's singles quarterfinal of the badminton World Championships in Nanjing on Friday. AFP

Star Indian shuttler P V Sindhu beat Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in straight games to cruise into the semifinals and assure herself of a medal in the World Championships here on Friday.

Sindhu defeated Okuhara 21-17, 21-19 in a 58-minute quarterfinal match to set up a semifinal clash against World No. 2 and another Japanese Akane Yamaguchi on Saturday.

The World No. 3 Indian produced a dominant display against her World No. 6 rival as she avenged her defeat in the last edition summit clash.

In both the games on Friday, Okuhara led initially but Sindhu was able to come back to take the honours. Sindhu had lost to Okuhara in the final last year 19-21, 22-20, 20-22 but on the day, it was the India who got the upper hand throughout the match.

The win by Sindhu meant that the head-to-head record between the two is now tied at 6-6. After the World Championships final last year, they had played five times against each other, including on Friday, and Sindhu has won three of them as against two by Okuhara. This will be Sindhu's fourth medal from the World Championships as she has already won two bronze and a silver.

Saina Nehwal's impressive run, however, came to a disappointing end as she suffered a straight-game loss to two-time champion Carolina Marin.

In the men's quarterfinals, B Sai Praneeth was no match to Kento Momota of Japan as he lost 12-21, 12-21 in just 39 minutes.

The mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also couldn't cross the quarterfinal hurdle, losing 17-21, 10-21 to top seeds Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong of China.

The Saina-Marin match turned out to be a lop-sided contest as the reigning Olympic champion Spaniard once again produced her 'A' game on the big occasion to complete an emphatic 21-6, 21-11 victory.

"Her movement was very quick today. She was moving so fast and covering the court very quickly. The kind of shots that she played, it seemed like she was suddenly very fast. Also, I had a late match yesterday so to face someone so quick was difficult. I didn't understand what to do, she never gave me a chance to play my game," Saina told reporters.

Holder Viktor Axelsen, meanwhile, was dumped out of quarterfinals on Friday by China's Chen Long. The top-ranked players in both the men's and women's draws are now out after Taiwan's Tai Tzu-ying was beaten earlier in the day in Nanjing by another Chinese.

Olympic champion Chen will play Shi Yuqi -- at three the top remaining seed -- in an all-Chinese semifinal following his emphatic 21-19, 21-11 victory over Axelsen.

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Sindhu beats Okuhara in straight games

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