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Sindhu sweats past Nguyen to enter Arctic Open semis

India’s two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu was back at her valiant best as she overcame a first-game deficit to down Vietnam’s Thuy Linh Nguyen in a marathon 91-minute battle and book a semifinal berth at the Arctic Open Super 500 tournament here.

PV Sindhu reacts after losing the Women's Singles quarterfinal badminton match against China's He Bingjiao at the 19th Asian Games(PTI)
PV Sindhu reacts after losing the Women’s Singles quarterfinal badminton match against China’s He Bingjiao at the 19th Asian Games(PTI)

The eighth-seeded Indian won 20-22, 22-20, 21-18 to halt a four-match winning run by of the unseeded world No 26 Nguyen.

Struggling to get into her elements before the Paris Olympics, Sindhu will face fifth seed and world No 11 Wang Zhi Yi of China later on Saturday in her bid to win the first BWF title of the season.

Sindhu thus made her fourth semifinal on the BWF World Tour this year. She had earlier advanced into the last-four at the Spain Masters (finalist), Malaysia Masters and Canada Open.

The other women’s singles semifinal will see Chinese third seed and world No 9 Han Yue face Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong.

Sindhu is the only Indian left in the fray here after Kiran George, Srikanth Kidambi, Aakarshi Kashyap and Ashwini Ponnappa/Tanisha Crasto made their respective last-16 exits on Thursday.

From an 11-4 lead at the mid-game break, the Indian world No 13 saw herself trailing 14-18 as she lost the the game 20-22 after some long rallies.

But in the second game, Sindhu hit six straight points going into the interval.

The Vietnamese tried to find her way back into the game, winning three points on the trot and took an 18-14 lead.

But the 2019 world champion Sindhu was back at her fighting best as she denied her opponent three points to seal the match, reeling off five successive points that took the match to the decider.

Nguyen produced a late fight-back but Sindhu was at her best as she raced to a 20-15 lead before sealing the match in one hour and 31 minutes.

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