What is it about Pusarla Venkat Sindhu? No matter how much she struggles in other tournaments, come the big stage and she rises to the occasion in a most amazing manner. In her quarter-final clash of the ongoing BWF World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, the 24-year old produced a superlative performance to defeat one of the big favourites Tai Tzu Ying.
But it's not just the women's singles category in which India have a great interest. B Sai Praneeth has become the first male Indian shuttler since Prakash Padukone in 1983 to win a World Championship medal. He achieved this feat by going through two highly-capable Indonesians – Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Jonatan Christie in the pre-quarters and quarters respectively.
On Saturday, August 24, both will try and take their achievements to the next level. Sindhu, by winning her semi-final, could secure her second consecutive silver while Praneeth could end up where no Indian man has – in the final of this event. Let's look at the previews of the matches that these two players will be involved in.
PV Sindhu vs Chen Yufei (China)
The last year has seen Chen Yufei of China emerging as one of the new stars of women's badminton. She has brought China back to the center of women's singles badminton and has been recording some big victories. This year, she already has four World Tour titles including the All England Open and one Super 500 event.
But Sindhu won't be easy to beat. Her victory against Tai in the quarter-final was achieved thanks to sheer hard work and dogged tenacity. Despite the Taiwanese player looking in great form, Sindhu persevered and used her power to barge her way into the semis.
This contest too would be a clash of styles as the Indian shuttler will try to use her power again, this time to outgun Yufei's shotmaking. What has made the lady from Hyderabad so good in this tournament is her willingness to fight hard for points, something that was missing earlier in the year. She would need all that fighting spirit in this match.
Considering she doesn't have her nemesis Carolina Marin in the tournament and has conquered the other foe, Tai, plus the top seed Akane Yamaguchi (who defeated Sindhu in two tournaments in the run up to this event) is already out, this could be her best opportunity to win the title and become the first World Champion in badminton from India.
B Sai Praneeth vs Kento Momota (Japan)
Sai Praneeth will have a very tough match against the best male badminton player in the world today – Kento Momota. Momota likes to test his opponent's stamina and prefers playing long rallies. If Praneeth has to win, he will have to be at his fittest and dig deep to overcome Momota's unending rallies.
What makes the Japanese dangerous is that while he usually coasts along at a steady pace, when under pressure, he can increase his speed to trouble his opponents. His main weapon – the crosscourt forehand smash is deadly and the Indian will have to watch out for that.
Schedule and where to watch
PV Sindhu's match would be the first contest of the day and would begin at 2:30 PM IST. Praneeth's match against Momota is third on the list and can be expected to begin around 4:30-5 PM IST. The live coverage of these contests would be provided on TV by Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD. For those who want to watch online, Hotstar is the platform for live streaming.