Photo credit: Tang Shi
Carolina Marín and Pusarla V. Sindhu were the two players to prevent the finals from being only matches with China and Japan. The two were up against a Chinese and a Japanese opponent respectively, and there were some exciting matches waiting for us.
The former 2 times World Champion and reigning Olympic Champion from Spain, Carolina Marín, has shown amazing condition throughout the whole week and she has not left her previous opponents with many chances. As a matter of fact, the highest scoring against her was 13 points in her second round match and she had given away less than 10 points in four out of the six games she had played so far. It was a Spaniard who looked extremely strong.
Her opponent of the day was local hero, He Bingjiao, who eliminated the big favorite to the title, Tai Tzu Ying, yesterday. She too looked to be extremely strong and fit and without a doubt more than eager to represent her country in the final in Nanjing. And it should be the Chinese who got the best start today.
Big hope for the Chinese fans
Marín was running behind all the way through a first game, which He Bingjiao seemed to have very good control of. The Spaniard won the first point but that was last time she was leading. He Bingjiao fought well and kept a good lead all the way until she bagged the first game 21-13. The thousands of Chinese spectators were surely hoping for something big to happen.
Those who have seen Carolina Marín playing before knows that she never gives up and that she generally has a very good condition, as she had today and this week as well. The Spaniard came to Nanjing in top shape to win, and during second game she played with a confidence and speed that the Chinese couldn’t keep up with. 21-16 for Marín and we needed a third decisive game to find the finalist.
No more power
With a streak of 8 consecutive points in third game Marín broke down her Chinese opponent. He Bingjiao seemed drained for power, drained for energy, and she could not fight back anymore. Carolina Marín made additional Spanish history as she won 21-13 and made it to her third World Championship final, while the Chinese fans and country must settle with bronze.
Indian or Japanese
Three countries were ready for the finals and either Japan would get one more spot there or Pusarla V. Sindhu would secure one spot for India. The tall Indian lost last year’s final in the very famous, exhausting and dramatic match against Nozomi Okuhara, also Japan. She surely wouldn’t appreciate another Japanese to stop her again this time.
Akane Yamaguchi won the last encounter with Sindhu, which was at the All England semifinal earlier this year. The one seeking revenge was definitely the Indian who also had a 6-4 head-to-head against Yamaguchi before today.
The Japanese started off best and brought herself on 5-0 before Sindhu came to the scoring board. At interval she was only leading 11-10 and when Sindhu took 8 consecutive points it was too much. Yamaguchi couldn’t fight back and lost first game 21-16. Second game simply had to be better if Japan should have a chance to get a World Champion in women’s single two years in a row.
So close and yet so far
And it did become better, much better actually. Yamaguchi was ahead all the way up to 19-12. Sindhu was frustrated but the comfortable lead had also cost lots of energy for the Japanese. The Indian shuttler made an impressive comeback with another 8 consecutive points and now it was suddenly her who had match point at 20-19. The Japanese was shocked but did however manage to stay in the match and even get a game point as well. But fortune wasn’t on her side. She was so close yet so far; Sindhu won 24-22 and thereby booked a ticket for the final for the second consecutive year.
That means we will be spoiled with a hopefully fantastic women’s single final tomorrow when we’ll see a rematch of the Olympic final from 2016, Carolina Marín vs. Pusarla V. Sindhu. Will the Spaniard make her hattrick or will India get their first world champion ever? Time will tell tomorrow…
You can see the results of all the semifinals here