New Delhi: PV Sindhu's father and mentor PV Ramana fervently hopes that his daughter would on Saturday improve on the bronze she won at the 2013 World Badminton Championships in Guangzhou and settle for no less than a silver -- or better still gold.
The World No. 12 created history on Friday by reaching the women's singles semifinals and assuring herself of at least a bronze at the Worlds in Copenhagen. By achieving this, the Hyderabadi became the first Indian to win two medals at the sport's most prestigious event.
"We are very happy. She lost and saved a few match-points in the third round Thursday. Today (Friday) again it was a tough match and she came back strongly to win it. This shows Sindhu's fighting spirit and I appreciate it. I hope, and I am confident, that she can improve on the colour of the medal this time," Ramana, a former India international volleyball player, said over phone from Hyderabad.
The 11th-seeded Indian proved that she belongs right at the top of the sport by defeating Chinese world No.2 Shixian Wang 19-21, 21-19, 21-15 in a marathon match which lasted an hour and 25 minutes at the Ballerup Super Arena. This is the 19-year-old's fourth victory over second-seeded Shixian in six meetings.
"I always tell Sindhu not to go according to the rankings because at this level everyone has a 50-50 chance. Let us see. She has played two long matches on Thursday and Friday and needs to rest for Saturday's match. Hope she progresses in the tournament," the Arjuna Awardee said, adding that he and his wife P Vijaya were heading to the temple to seek divine blessings for Sindhu's semifinal.
This is only the fourth time that an Indian was in line for a medal at the World Championships. Legendary Prakash Padukone started the trend in 1983 Copenhagen when he won the men's singles bronze. It took Indian shuttlers another 28 years to win a bronze when Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa clinched the women's doubles bronze in 2011.
The Hyderabadi teenager won the women's singles bronze last year and has now assured back-to-back medals at the prestigious world event.
Sindhu has a great chance of improving on the colour of the medal when she takes on the winner of the match between Chinese Taipei's eighth seed Tzu Ying Tai and Spanish ninth seed Carolina Marin in the semifinals Saturday.