In a sublime performance that suggested that she is at the top of her game, PV Sindhu battered her Chinese opponent Chen Yufei to enter the BWF World Championship final for a third straight year. The domination of the Indian lass was unimaginable as she made a mockery of the challenge posted by this year's All England champion.
Chen, who had been demolished by Sindhu in the Indonesia Open some weeks earlier, looked out of sorts against Sindhu as she dominated the court and used deadly smashes which her opponent had no answer to.
The first game was won by the two-time former silver medallist by an unbelievable margin of 21-7 as Chen was unable to pose any kind of challenge to Sindhu. The latter was playing at a much faster pace than her opponent and was also making her run around the court.
Chen was looking clueless as Sindhu scored points at will. After losing the first game, Chen tried to fight back and remained competitive for the early part of the second game. She played some good crosscourt smashes to keep the score from going too much in the Indian's favour.
However, the Indian badminton queen started dominating again and all the shots of Chen were successfully retrieved. This forced the Chinese to try more ambitious lobs which ended up going long. Sindhu raced to a big lead in the second game and after a brief resistance by her opponent, won the match 21-7, 21-14.
Pusarla will now face the winner of the other semifinal between Thailand's 2013 World Champion Ratchanok Intanon and Japan's 2017 World Champion Nozomi Okuhara. The latter had defeated Sindhu in the 2017 final of the event in an epic match that lasted for 110 minutes. In 2018, it was the Olympic champion Carolina Marin who prevented the Hyderabad-based shuttler from winning her first World Championship.
Interestingly, Sindhu now has the enviable record of having reached the finals of the biggest badminton tournament in all of the last four years. Prior to her first appearance in the World Championship final in 2017, she had contested the 2016 Olympic final in Rio where she lost to Marin.
It can be said with confidence that the challenge posed by Chen was a fraction of the difficulty Sindhu faced in the quarter-final against Tai Tzu Ying. While Tai made PV stretch herself to the limit in order to win that match, Yufei was never in the game and looked destined to lose.
None of her shots were powerful enough to trouble the Olympic Silver medalist, neither were they placed well enough to put the Indian in an awkward position. The reason for this listless performance from Chen may be the psychological barrier she has created against Sindhu as well as the pressure of being the last hope of China in this category for a medal.
Whatever the reason, Sindhu has once again proven: 'Cometh the hour, cometh the champion'