Sindhu stuns Olympic champion Li Xuerui, a step closer to hat-trick of medals

Jakarta (PTI): Two-time bronze-medallist P V Sindhu stunned Olympic champion and former World No. 1 Chinese Li Xuerui in a hard-fought women’s singles match to enter the quarterfinals of the World Badminton Championship here today.

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With this victory, Sindhu has moved a step closer to claiming a hat-trick of medals in the World championship.

The 11th seeded Sindhu, who clinched the bronze medal in 2013 and 2014 editions of this tournament, stunned Xuerui 21-17 14-21 21-17 in a battle that lasted 50 minutes.

Sindhu will next take on eighth seeded Sung Ji-hyun of South Korea. If she manages to win her quarterfinal match, she will be assured of at least a bronze.

The World No. 13 Indian, who had spent most of the time this season nursing an injury and struggling for form, today gave a glimpse of her previous self.

Sindhu made her intentions clear from the very beginning as she opened with a 5-1 lead in the first game and simply surged ahead, never letting her higher ranked opponent catch her.

The closest the Chinese came was at 16-17 before Sindhu won three points on the trot to make it 20-16 and eventually close the opening game 21-17.

Xuerui, however, came back strongly in the second game, using all her experience as she dominated from the very first point to steal the game 21-14 and take it to the decider.

In the third game, after breaking away from tied 3-3, Sindhu ran away with a 11-6 lead at the break. But the Chinese kept breathing down her neck, clawing back at 13-13.

At 14-14, Sindhu managed to win four successive points to once again open up a 18-14 lead. Thereafter she just tightened the noose, not letting the advantage slip and sealed the issue rather comfortably in the end.

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