Star Indian shuttler PV Sindhu showed glimpses of her old self, dishing out a compact game to storm into the semifinals of the Denmark Open Super 750 tournament with a comfortable win over world No. 19 Supanida Katethong in Denmark on Friday. (More Sports News)
The two-time Olympic medallist, who has endured a winless phase this season, displayed her immaculate retrieving skills and exemplary net play to outshine Katethong 21-19, 21-12 in 47 minutes and make it to a second semifinal in two weeks.
She had reached the semifinals at the Arctic Open Super 500 last week in Finland.
Sindhu will now face Spain's three-time world champion Carolina Marin, who has an overwhelming 10-5 record against the Indian. It is going to be a tricky contest as Sindhu has lost to the world No. 6 in the last four meetings.
It hasn't been exactly smooth sailing for Sindhu in this tournament as she took three games to get rid of her opponents -- world No. 28 Kristy Gilmour and world No. 7 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung in the first two rounds.
Coming into this match, the Indian enjoyed a 3-2 record against the Thai but the twin losses at the India Open 2022 and 2023 editions would still hurt Sindhu, as it came in front of her home crowd.
But on Friday, the 28-year-old somewhat erased those memories as she matched her technically sound opponent in every department and managed to limit her errors to come up trumps.
Katethong tried to make Sindhu move around the court with her pushes to the back and then drawing her to the net. But Sindhu was up for it and kept at it during the fast-paced rallies. She played some cross-court forehands to good effect.
The Indian did miss a couple of points for misjudgement at the backline but that didn't matter as she grabbed an 11-8 lead with a cross-court smash.
After the change of ends, the Thai erred in the forecourt a few times to allow Sindhu to dominate the proceedings. The Indian was up 19-12 in a jiffy.
The Thai played some precise shots on the lines to threaten Sindhu's supremacy. The Indian was also guilty of making unforced errors as Katethong recovered to 17-19.
However, the Indian crushed the revival with an on-the-line return to grab three game points and sealed the opening game after Katethong floated a cross-court wide.
In the second game, Katethong struggled with her length and sprayed the shuttle long and wide as Sindhu was up 5-1. Two precise returns, and a lucky net chord, helped Katethong draw level at 5-5.
Sindhu, however, managed to eke out a 9-6 lead. The Thai seemed to step up the pace and made it 8-9 after unleashing a straight smash. Katethong set up the points well but failed in execution as Sindhu again led 11-9.
The Hyderabadi looked more aggressive as she had all the answers to the questions her opponent threw at her. She mixed her half smashes, drives and drops to keep gathering points as Katethong fell into a pool of errors, especially in her pursuit to go for the lines.
The result was that the Indian was up 16-10. With the Thai going long again, Sindhu moved to 18-11. She produced a cross-court forehand to gather another point and soon grabbed eight match points.
Sindhu sealed it comfortably with another trademark cross-court smash.