Birmingham, March 18: India’s star shuttler P.V. Sindhu lost to Japanese second seed Akane Yamaguchi in the semi-finals of the All England Open BWF World Tour Super 1000 here on Saturday.
The Rio Olympic Games silver medallist lost 21-19, 19-21, 18-21 in an hour and 19 minutes to Yamaguchi, who will face top seed and defending champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the women’s singles final on Sunday.
It was Yamaguchi’s four win in 10 meetings with Sindhu and she fully deserved it for the way she took Sindhu head on.
In the first game between Sindhu and Yamaguchi at the Arena Birmingham, the Indian made it a mere formality by taking a 16-8 lead before easing up.
But Yamaguchi refused to surrender, equalising at the 17-point mark before Sindhu realised that the job is half done. The Indian then secured two points to lead 19-17 before winning the game 21-19.
In the second game, Yamaguchi consistently put pressure on Sindhu and the latter always had to play the catch up game. Yamaguchi was up 12-9 but the Indian fought back and equalised with straight three points.
But the Asian Games medallist Yamaguchi managed to move ahead and led 18-14 before again the Indian showed her fighting ability to force Yamaguchi to sweat. The Japanese won 21-19.
Sindhu proved to be stronger at the beginning of the decisive third game. The three-time World Championships medallist dictated the play and raced to a 13-7 lead. But Yamaguchi refused to give up, pulling through difficult moments to equalize at the 14-point mark to make it an open game.
Later, Sindhu led 18-17 but the Japanese snatched four consecutive points to clinch the game 21-18 and storm into her maiden All England final.
In the other semi-final, world No.1 Tai got past Chinese eight seed Chen Yufei 21-15, 20-22, 21-13 in an hour and four minutes.
Tai and Yamaguchi have faced 10 times before, with both of them winning five times.
In the men’s singles action, Chinese seventh seed and last year’s runner-up Shi Yuqi defeated South Korean fifth seed Son Wan Ho 21-17, 21-14 in 45 minutes.