PV Sindhu pulls a rabbit out of her hat, Praneeth creates history

Rio Olympics' silver medallist PV Sindhu downs the World No. 2 to seal a semis spot while B Sai Praneeth becomes the first Indian man in 36 years to bag a medal at the World Championships

By Naveen Peter ·

For all her domination on the BWF Tour in the last two years, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying does not have a single World Championships medal, while India’s PV Sindhu has four. And that probably was the difference as Sindhu produced one of the finest performances of her career to beat the world number two 12-21, 23-21, 21-19 to move into the semifinals of the BWF World Championships in Basel on Friday.

The win guaranteed the 24-year-old Indian sensation her fifth World Championships medal. Tai Tzu' s poor decision-making in crunch situations allowed her opponent to crawl back into the game after having her hanging by a thread in the initial phase.

Slipping away

There were moments when it looked like the match would slip away from Sindhu’s grasp. Up against one of the best players of the game, the Indian was gasping for breath every time she had to dig deep into a rally. In the first game, Sindhu seemed to be no match for her counterpart as Tai Tzu took the opening game 21-12.

But just when it looked like Tai Tzu would steamroll the opposition and continue her run in Basel, Sindhu pulled a rabbit out of her hat. She made Tai Tzu fall short on her returns to take the second game after some high octane badminton.

She moved around the court at a brisk pace, mixed her returns, pushed Tai Tzu deep and finished her winners with some finesse.

The deceptive move

The World No. 2 was quick to learn from her mistakes as she tweaked her game to suit the situation. Making the lanky Indian move all across with her deceptive shots, Tai Tzu found her winners without much fuss and raced to 9-3 in the decider.

But the tie was far from done as Sindhu kept her composure to get back into her groove and win a string of points to ease ahead. With Tai Tzu committing a few unexpected unforced errors, Sindhu soon raced ahead to take the game and the match that lasted for over an hour.

B Sai Praneeth's career’s first significant achievement was his bronze medal at the 2010 BWF World Junior Championships

History in the making

While Sindhu scripted a fine comeback to keep her chances at the World Championships alive, B Sai Praneeth barely faced any challenge from Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie as he eased his way into the last-four with a comfortable 24-22, 21-14.

The win meant Sai Praneeth became the first Indian man in 36 years to secure a World Championships medal. Indian legend

Prakash Padukone was the last Indian man to win a World Championships medal when he took home a bronze at the 1983 Copenhagen Championships.