BANGKOK (AFP): Indian badminton powerhouse P.V. Sindhu toppled out of the Thailand Open Saturday at the hands of Chinese Olympic champion Chen Yufei, who booked herself a finals berth.
Chen, who is third in the world, was dominant in attack during the first game but seventh-ranked Sindhu’s bid for a comeback came too little too late — losing 17-21.
The Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist came out firing in the second, racing off to a five-point lead ahead of the interval.
But Chen quickly clawed back and took control of rallies with some stellar smashes and net work, sealing victory 21-16.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s eighth-ranked Ratchanok Intanon was unable to capitalise on a home-court advantage in her match against second in the world Tai Tzu-ying.
The Taiwanese 27-year-old polished off the former world champion in a topsy turvy three-match nail biter 10-21, 21-13, 21-19.
In the men’s singles the field was depleted of heavyweights earlier in the week when world number one Viktor Axelsen, from Denmark, withdrew over injury concerns and out-of-sorts former world champion Kento Momota crashed out in the first round.
The highest-ranked player, Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, who is sixth in the world, outplayed compatriot 34th-ranked Daren Liew 21-16, 13-21, 21-14.
China’s Li Shifeng, who is 49th in the world, scraped into Sunday’s final after outmaneuvering Japan’s Kodai Naraoka, who is ranked one place ahead, in a 93-minute marathon match 21-19, 16-21, 21-19.
The Thailand Open concludes on Sunday.