NEW DELHI: World Champion P V Sindhu kept India's hopes of winning a first-ever Olympic gold in badminton alive as she reached the semifinals of women's singles with a fighting straight-game win over world no 5 Japanese Akane Yamaguchi on Friday.
The 26-year-old Indian, who won a silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, defended brilliantly and rode on her attack to outclass the fourth-seeded Yamaguchi 21-13 22-20 in a 56-minute quarterfinal clash at the Musashino Forest Plaza here.
Akane Yamaguchi, the 4th seed, has been Sindhu's familiar foe. The two shuttlers have met as many as 18 times on the tour. Sindhu holds a positive head-to-head record, having won 11 times in the past. Sindhu though has lost 3 of their 4 meetings.
P V Sindhu will next face the winner of the other quarterfinal between Thailand's Ratchanok Inthanon and Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying.
Sindhu won their most recent meeting, which came at the quarter-final stage at the prestigious All England Championship. Sindu lost the opening game but came back strong to take the match 16-21, 21-16, 21-19.