After a stunning performance from Sakshi Malik in wrestling, India earned the first medal in Rio Olympics on Wednesday, but PV Sindhu can bring double joy to India if she manages to defeat Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in the semifinals of the women's competition on Thursday. A win over Okuhara will guarantee a silver or gold finish for India, while a semifinals loss will lead her to a bronze medal match.
Sindhu, after a comprehensive performance in the group stages, has taken her game to the next level in the knockout stages, which augurs well for India. Sindhu defeated Tai Tazu Ying from Chinese Taipei in the prequarters, and emerged triumphant against world number two Wang Yihan to set up a date with Okuhara in the semifinals.
With such wins under her belt, Sindhu will be a confident person going into the semifinals, but she needs to maintain her consistency and focus, which has helped her reach so far in the competition.
Sindhu, who has dropped just one game in the Rio Olympics so far, has played her aggressive game to full effect. Besides her powerful smashes, her game at the net has been a controlled affair, making her look even more dangerous.
Though Sindhu might have reached the semis with some strong performances, Okuhara's ride into the last four has not been too difficult. The Japanese star is one of the best players in the world, and started the competition with a medal favourite. Okuhara has a better head-to-head record over Sindhu, who has lost three times and won only once in her professional career.
The Japanese star will be eager to further improve her record against Sindhu, and get a shot in the final to win gold. The Indian shuttler is participating in her first Olympics, and she is already enjoying the run in the competition. The 21-year-old girl has her complete focus on Okuhara, and hoped to reach the women's singles final.
"This is also Rio Olympics, it's a very different feeling. It's one of the best moments. I hope there will be many more to come," Press Trust of India quoted Sindhu as saying.
"If you play really well you will automatically win the game, and a medal. I'm just focused on my match and the next match, the semis (against Okuhara). I hope I can give my best."
Where to watch live
PV Sindhu vs Nozomi Okuhara semifinal match will start at 7:30 p.m IST (11 am a.m local time, 3 p.m BST, 8:20 a.m ET)
India: TV:Star Sports 2/HD. Live Streaming: Hotstar.
UK and Ireland: TV:BBC. Live Streaming:BBCiPlayer.
Japan: TV: NHK, ETV
Chinese Taipei: TV : Chunghwa Telecom
Indonesia: TV: NEXMEDIA, SCTV
Middle East Countires TV:BeIN Sports. Live streaming:BeIN Sports Connect
Brazil: TV:SporTV, Globo, Fox Sports and ESPN.
Argentina: TV:ESPN and DirecTV. Live Streaming:ESPN Play Latin America.
Australia: TV:Channel 7, 7Two and 7Mate. Live Streaming:Channel 7 online.