PV Sindhu sets up mouth-watering semi vs Carolina Marin at Denmark Open

PV Sindhu in action at the 2023 Denmark Open. Shi Tang/Getty Images

PV Sindhu set up a mouth-watering semifinal clash with Carolina Marin at the Denmark Open Super 750 tournament, showing glimpses of her old self in a comfortable win over Supanida Katethong on Friday.

Sindhu, who has endured a troubled season since her return from a five-month injury layoff, displayed terrific retrieving skills and net play to win 21-19 21-12 in 47 minutes and make it to a second semifinal in two weeks. She had reached the semifinals at Arctic Open Super 500 last week in Finland.

Up next, she will face a familiar rival in Carolina Marin, who pulled off a superb comeback win against Tai Tzu Ying 19-21, 21-15, 21-18. The two have played each other 15 times, with the Spaniard leading the head-to-head 10-5.

The Denmark Open, like most of her season, hadn't been exactly smooth sailing for Sindhu till the quarterfinal. She took three games to beat world no 28 Kristy Gilmour in the first round and was involved in a see-saw battle against world no 7 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung in the second.

She had struggled against left-hander Katethong in the past, the Thai having beaten her two straight times at the India Open 2022 and 2023. But on Friday, the 28-year-old somewhat erased those memories by taking charge of the points and not allowing her opponent much of a toehold.

Katethong tried to make Sindhu move around the court with her pushes to the back and then drawing her to net. But Sindhu was up for it and stayed in the fast-paced rallies with some solid retrieving. She did miss a couple of points for misjudgement at the backline but soon grabbed a 11-8 lead with a cross-court smash.

After the change of ends, the Thai erred in the forecourt few times to allow Sindhu dominate the proceedings. The Indian was up 19-12 before Katethong mounted a comeback. She played some precise shots on the lines while Sindhu was guilty of making unforced errors as the lead was reduced to 19-17.

However, the Indian stopped the flow with a straight return to grab three game points and sealed the opening game after Katethong floated a cross-court wide.

In the second game, Katethong started slow and Sindhu was up 5-1 before precise returns and a net cord, helped Katethong to draw level at 5-5. Sindhu however managed to build a small lead and go into the break 11-9 ahead.

In the second half, she stepped up the attack and looked more aggressive to race ahead. Cheering her points loudly and building a good rhythm, Sindhu built a big 18-11 lead. She mixed her half smashes, drives and drops to keep gathering points as Katethong unravelled in errors while trying to go for the lines.

There was not much the Thai could do though, as Sindhu sealed it comfortably with another trademark cross court smash, raising hopes that her tough season has turned a decisive corner.