Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu is just one step away from clinching her maiden Super Series Premier title as she reached the finals of the China Open after registering a come from behind win over Korea Sung Ji Hyun at the USD 700,000 tournament on Saturday.
Seventh seed Sindhu edged out Ji Hyun, seeded sixth, 11-21 23-21 21-19 in a thrilling contest that lasted an hour and 24 minutes. This was Sindhu's sixth win over Ji Hyun in nine encounter.
The two-time bronze medallist at World Championship, Sindhu will lock horns with local favourite Sun Yu, seeded eighth, in the summit clash on Sunday.
Sindhu was up for a shock in the opening game as she just couldn't match up with the Korean, who dominated the game all throughout after opening a 5-1 lead early on. Ji Hyun kept extending her lead and eventually pocketed the game comfortably.
A jolted Sindhu then came up with a much improved performance in the second game as she locked herself in a battle of supremacy with Ji Hyun, moving neck and neck till 7-7. The Korean changed gears and entered the break with a 11-7 lead.
After the breather, Sindhu erased the deficit with four points but Ji Hyun again managed to march ahead and grab three match points at 20-17. Sindhu saved two match points with some gritty strokes, including an angled drop shot before drawing level. She reached a game point but wasted it before she sealed a long rally with a powerful smash to roar back into the match.
In the decider, Sindhu lagged behind again early on but fought back from 3-7 down to take a slender 10-9 lead but Ji Hyun won a thrilling rally to go into the break with a lead. Ji Hyun moved to a 12-10 lead next after Sindhu's backhand drop went out but the Indian kept breathing down her neck.
A superb forehand from Sindhu and an error from Ji Hyun helped the Indian grab two match points at 20-18. Sindhu eventually sealed it with a superb cross court smash.
Sindhu had reached her maiden Super Series final at the Denmark Open last year but the title eluded her as she lost in straight games to 2012 Olympic champion China's Li Xuerui.