Faced with a much higher rated opponent, the 21-year-old from Hyderabad scripted a 22-20, 21-19 victory in 54 minutes over the former World No.1 at the Riocentro Pavilion 4 on Tuesday. Sindhu will face the winner of the all-Japan quarter-final clash between Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara in the last-four stage. Wang, who had taken silver at the 2012 London Olympics, was expected to be the stronger of the two, but it was Sindhu who dominated most of the exchanges.

The Indian won the majority of the long rallies and used her power-packed smashes and cross-court shots to good effect. Wang, whose weak back-hand caught her off-guard several times, came up with a tough fight, but could not do enough to stop Sindhu.

The match witnessed a lot of long rallies with both players displaying plenty of skills, excellent court coverage and a superb sense of placement. Wang, a former World and Asian champion, had the stronger start, outfoxing Sindhu time and again with her clever placements which often forced the Indian to make mistakes.

The reigning Asian Games champion opened up a 3-0 lead early on before the Indian made a strong comeback to draw level at 5-5. The two players continued to fight it out tooth and nail, with every point being well-contested. However, a couple of unforced errors cost Sindhu dearly and the Chinese went into the mid-game break with a 11-8 lead. Sindhu came back firing on all cylinders after the break and reduced the deficit to 11-12. The Chinese increased the lead by a point with a long cross-court shot, but Sindhu kept asking the difficult questions and levelled the scores at 13-13 when the under-pressure Wang hit a shot too long.

Another unforced error from Sindhu saw the Chinese regain the lead almost immediately. But the Hyderabad girl continued to fight hard and took the lead for the first time at 15-14. Wang then took three points on the trot to regain the advantage. But Sindhu levelled again at 17-17 before Wang hit a return into the net to concede the lead once again. But Sindhu let go the advantage in the very shot when she hit her return too long. A couple of consecutive points saw Sindhu gon into game point at 20-18. But an extremely long rally saw Wang save game point with an excellent cross-court shot. Wang then drew level thanks to another unforced error by her opponent. But a net shot handed Sindhu another game point at 21-20 before the Chinese hit an attempted return over the sideline to hand the Indian the first game.


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