Pusarla Venkata Sindhu had to be content with a bronze medal at the World Badminton Championships after losing her semis to Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand. The only other Indians to have made the semis of the tournament have been Prakash Padukone (1983) and doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa (2011).
India's tenth seed PV Sindhu had to settle for a bronze after a heartbreaking 10-21 13-21 loss to 4th seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the semis of World Badminton Championship. Catch all the highs and lows from Saturday's action, as they happened.
Here is what current and former badminton players had to say after Sindhu's quarter-final finish on Saturday. (See full video)
Mixed doubles: Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, 3rd seeds from Indonesia, into the final with 15-21 21-18 21-13 win over China's 2nd seeded Nan Zhang and Yunlei Zhao. Chen Xu and Jin Ma will be their opponents.
Men's singles: World number Number 1 Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei is into the final beating 3rd seed Du Pengyu of China 20-22, 21-12, 21-15. The clash of the tournament awaits all of us now with Lin Dan already in the final.
Mixed doubles semis: China Chen Xu and Jin Ma, seeded 1, beat Koreans Baek Choel Shin and Hye Won Eom 21-15, 21-17 to advance to the final.
Men's doubles semis: 3rd seed Mathias Boe (who was disgruntled with the initial snub in Indian badminton league) and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark are through to the finals with a 21-23, 21-18, 21-18 win over Koreans Ki Jung Kim and Sa Rang Kim. They will meet Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan there.
As players take a break, let us look back at the results so far on Saturday:
Men's singles semis:
World No.1 and top seed Lin Dan of China bt Tien Minh Nguyen (VIEx7) 21-17, 21-15.
Women's singles semis:
Top seed and World No.1 Li Xuerui of China beat 13th seed Bae Yeon-Ju of Korea 21-5, 21-11.
World No.3 and fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand beat India's 10th seed and World No.12 PV Sindhu 21-10, 21-13.
Men's doubles semis:
Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia beat 8th seeds Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng of China 21-19, 21-17.
Women's doubles semis:
Eighth seeds Eom Hye-Won/Jang Ye-Na of Korea beat fifth Tian Quing/Zhao Yunlei of China 21-16, 21-19.
So after beating two former World No.1s, including the defending champion and second seed Yihan Wang, India's world No. 12 PV Sindhu falters in the semis and has to settle for bronze.
13:38 (IST) Heartbreak for PV Sindhu as Ratchanok Intanon secures a thumping 21-10 21-13 win. World No.3 Intanon of Thailand has booked a bronze medal and will play World No.1 Li Xuerui in the summit clash tomorrow.
13:36 (IST) A long rally of shots ends with an unforced error by Sindhu, who trails 18-11. Intanon just 3 points away from securing at least a silver medal.
13:35 (IST) Already 7 smash winners in the second game for Intanon, who leads 15-10.
13:30 (IST) Another two points for Sindhu but Ratchanok does not let up. 11-5 and Sindhu trails.
13:27 (IST) Sindhu scores her first points in the second game, but Intanon leads 10-3. The Thai 18-year-old won the first game 21-10.
13:26 (IST) Not looking great for Sindhu as Intanon continues to pressurize her with strong winners. 7-0 to the Thai.
13:24 (IST) Not a good start in the second game at all by Sindhu. Four straight points for Intanon. It's 4-0.
13:23 (IST) A technical snag with the official scoring system holds up play for a bit. All ready for start of the second game.
TRIVIA: Sindhu reached the quarters of the World Junior Championships in 2010 and won the Asian Under-19 championships.
13:19 (IST) Intanon seals the first game 21-10 over Sindhu. Clear difference were the 12 clear smash winners scored by Intanon, compared to just three by Sindhu.
13:17 (IST) The first game looks beyond Sindhu, it's 18-8 now for the Thai fourth seed!
13:14 (IST) Sindhu has a nervous look as another unforced error by her extends deficit to 15-6.
13:12 (IST) Unforced errors by both Sindhu and Intanon make it 12-5 in the Thai's favour in the first game.
TRIVIA: Sindhu got hooked onto badminton after Pullela Gopichand's triumph at the All England Championships in 2001.
13:11 (IST) Five consecutive points to Intanon give her a comfortable 11-4 lead. Great agility and strokeplay by the World No.3.
13:09 (IST) A wonderful rally sees Intanon take the point and extend lead to 8-4 over Sindhu.
TRIVIA: Sindhu's first taste of success came at the Asian Badminton Championships in 2009, where she won the bronze medal.
13:06 (IST) First points for Sindhu in the game. But Intanon takes a lead of 3-2 in the first game.
FACTOID: With a world ranking of 12, PV Sindhu has a career win-loss record of 93-39. World No.3 Ratchanok Intanon has a win-loss record of 22-5 in 2013.
13:01 (IST) All set for the game between PV Sindhu and Ratchanok Intanon to start as the two players warm up at the Tianhe Indoor Stadium ahead of their semi-final.
12:58 (IST): Men's doubles semis: Indonesians sixth seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan beat Chinese 8th seeds Cai Yung and Fu Haifeng 21-19 21-17. And PV Sindhu's match will begin shortly.
12:40 (IST) PV Sindhu's game will start after the men's doubles semis between Indonesians Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan and Cai Yung/Fu Haifeng of China. The Indonesian sixth seeds have won the first game against the Chinese 8th seeded pair 21-19.
12:23 (IST): So Lin Dan will face the winner of the clash between arch-rival and world No.1 Lee Chong Wei vs Du Pengyu of China. Du Pengyu knocked out Indian ace Parupalli Kashyap in the quarters.
12:15 (IST): Game, game, match! and a place in the world championships final for Lin Dan. After a closely fought first game he brushes aside Nguyen Tien Minh in the second to win 21-17, 21-15.
12:09 (IST): Sensational by Lin Dan! A diving retrieve keeps the shuttle in play as his Vietnamese opponent is being over-powered in the second game.
11:56 (IST): A little bit on PV Sindhu's opponent today, Ratchanok Intanon: The Thai girl is the youngest-ever world junior champion and is seeded fourth in the tournament and ranked third in the world. Intanon progressed to the last-4 after beating Spain's Carolina Marin 21-18, 20-22, 21-15 in the quarters.
11:53 (IST): Despite a tough fight put forward by his opponent Nguyen Tien Minh, Lin Dan manages to take the first game 21-17.
11:45 (IST): This is what Gopichand had to say on Sindhu's victory over Shixian Wang in the quarters: "It was a tough match (against Shixian Wang). It went neck and neck and there wasn't much to choose. There was not more than 2-3 points of difference, Sindhu was leading all the time. But it was just by a slender margin. The rallies was pretty long and Sindhu was able to attack when needed. So overall it was a good show."
11:35 (IST): Back to India's rising star PV Sindhu. The 18-year-old is in a rich vein of form, having won her first major international title with the Malaysian Grand Prix Gold in May this year.
11:26 (IST): Lin Dan's on court... The former world number 1 and badminton legend is facing seventh seed Nguyen Tien Minh in the semifinal clash. Amazingly, Lin is unseeded in the tournament after injuries and family commitments have kept him out of action for much of this year.
11:25 (IST): But Sindhu is not the only Indian to taste success at the world championships. Prakash Padukone won a medal in the world championships way back in 1983 when he bagged a bronze in the men's singles event in Copenhagen, while the women's doubles duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had claimed another bronze for India in the last edition of the tournament in Wembley, London in 2011.
11:18 (IST): Top seed Li Xuerui cruises into the final after thrashing Korea's Yeon Ju Bae 21-5, 21-11. Xuerui is the current world no.1 won gold at last years London Olympics and is the favourite to win the world championship gold as well.
11:11 (IST): PV Sindhu comes from a sporting family. Both her parents, PV Ramana and Vijaya, are national-level volleyball players. Her father, PV Ramana had previously captained the Indian volleyball team as well. It runs in the blood...
11:08 (IST): Meanwhile ten-time national singles champion and two-time Olympian Aparna Popat believes that Sindhu can claim gold at the world championships.
11:00 (IST): We are about an hour and a half away from the start of Sindhu's match versus Intanon. In the meantime, you can read our preview here.
10:59 (IST): If Sindhu were to reach the final she would meet either top seed Li Xuerui of China or 13th seeded Korean Yeon Ju Bae. Remember Bae outplayed and outclassed Saina Nehwal in the quarterfinals. But she seems no match for the top seed who wins the first game 21-5.
10:50 (IST): India chief coach Pullela Gopichand is keeping his feet firmly rooted to the ground though. Taking it one match at a time, Gopichand said that Sindhu is a good player but stressed that 'she can improve further'.
Did you know, when Sindhu lived in Secunderabad, she used to travel 40km to Gopichand's Badminton Academy every day. Amazingly, she never missed a single training session!
10:45 (IST): Well, Sindhu has performed sensationally to reach this far in the tournament. She beat not one, but two Chinese girls in the previous rounds. She upset defending champion Yihan Wang 21-18, 23-21 to advance to the women's singles quarterfinals and then took 55 minutes to dispose of former world no.1 and seventh seed Shixian Wang 21-18, 21-17.
10:40 (IST): Already assured of a bronze medal, India's PV Sindhu faces the stern challenge posed by Thailand's world no.3 Ratchanok Intanon in the women's singles semifinals today. In the only previous encounter between the duo - at the Indian Open earlier this year - Intanon thrashed Sindhu 21-12, 21-6. A bad omen for the Indian teen sensation???
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