Singapore Open: Sindhu in semis; Saina, Prannoy go down fighting

PV Sindhu in action at the 2022 Indonesia Open Shi Tang/Getty Images

PV Sindhu pulled off a thriller to advance into the semifinal, but Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy suffered narrow, heartbreaking defeats in their respective events at the Singapore Open Super 500 Tournament on Friday.

Third seed Sindhu overcame a strong challenge from Han Yue before winning 17-21, 21-11, 21-19 in a battle lasting more than an hour to book her first semifinal since the Thailand Open in May.

Sindhu will next face unseeded Saena Kawakami, the Japanese world No. 38, who caused an upset by eliminating sixth seed Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand 21-17, 21-19. The Indian star boasts of a 2-0 head-to-head record against Saena. Sindhu now leads 3-0 against the Chinese on head-to-head.

With Sindhu being the only Indian in fray now, it remains to be seen if the former world champion is able to make it all the way in the last event before the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Saina Nehwal, who showed signs of her silken touch in a superb win over Chinese world No. 9 He Bing Jiao in the quarters, squandered a game lead to go down 13-21, 21-15, 20-21 against left-handed Japanese Aya Ohori. The 32-year-old veteran Indian failed to convert her match points twice to hand over the tie to her Japanese opponent.

In-form Prannoy also showed promise and won the first game by nine points but Kodai Naraoka levelled in the second game before sealing it 12-21, 21-14, 21-18.

Prannoy put up an incredible battle in the decider when he bounced back from being 7-18 down and had eight straight points to make a match out of Naraoka. From being 15-20, Prannoy saved match points and stretched it further, only to go down in a battle lasting 63 minutes.

Indian doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila also stretched second seeded duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia but failed to finish and lost 10-21, 21-18, 21-17.