The parents of P.V. Sindhu, who Friday became the first Indian to reach the women's singles semifinals of the World Badminton Championships, dedicated the 18-year-old's achievement to chief national coach Pullela Gopichand. (All the highlights from Friday's action)
"It feels nice that she is coming up nicely. We gave her all the encouragement we could and she has reached to a level where she is owing to sheer determination. The routine of reaching the academy at 4 a.m in the morning seems to be bearing fruit," P. Vijaya said minutes after her daughter's 21-18, 21-17 win over China's former World No.1 Shixian Wang in Guangzhou, assuring her of at least a bronze medal in the competition.
This will be only the third instance that an Indian will bring home a medal from the Worlds. Prakash Padukone won the men's singles bronze in 1983 at Copenhagen while Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa won another bronze in the women's doubles event in the last edition at London in 2011.
Sindhu's father P.V. Ramana, an Arjuna Awardee for his feats in volleyball, said they will celebrate the win with her daughter's friends at the Gopichand Badminton Academy here.
"We have to celebrate not only with Gopi but all the staff at the academy. The one reason Sindhu is doing well is that she enjoys the game," said Ramana.
"I just told her to play well before the match... she did. I hope she recovers in time for the semifinal," he added.
In the semifinal, Sindhu will face the winner of the other quarterfinal between Carolina Marin of Spain and fourth seeded Thai Ratchanok Intanon.
Meanwhile, former national coach U Vimal Kumar said in-form Sindhu has a decent chance of making it to the final of the event.
"It is going to be a tough match for Sindhu if she is plays Ratchanok Intanon in the semifinal. She has never beaten the Thai girl. Ratchanok has a deceptive game and is a tricky customer. It is going to be a 50-50 match considering her performance in this event," Kumar told PTI.
"If she remains focused as she had done in earlier matches, I think she can go even further," he said.
On comparisons between Sindhu and Saina, Vimal said the senior pro has achieved far more than the youngster.
"Sindhu is slowly getting there. But if she is consistent, she can be counted in league with Saina. This performance will definitely catapult Sindhu into the top 10 rankings and hence things looks rosy for her," he said.
On Saina Nehwal crashing out of the tournament, Vimal said that injury problems and pressure has taken away her focus from badminton.
"I get the impression that Saina is mentally taxed at the moment, but I may be wrong," he said.
"At this moment Saina is going through such kind of pressure and hope she will, in future, find a right balance. I am sure she will as she is still young and will get back into her elements," he added.