JAKARTA—Two-time bronze-winner P V Sindhu stayed on course for another medal after a stunning display while Saina Nehwal and doubles combine of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa also put themselves in line for a podium finish in the World Badminton Championship here today.
It was women power on display today as Sindhu stunned Olympic champion and former World No. 1 Chinese Li Xuerui 21-17 14-21 21-17 in a battle that lasted 50 minutes, while Olympic bronze medallist Saina too made it to the final eight for the sixth time after beating 14th-seeded Sayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-18 21-14 in 47 minutes.
"I'm happy, I played well. Over all it was a good match.
It was anyone's game in the decider. It was 14 all, so there I took the lead and I won. So hope I play well in the next match too," Sindhu said after the match.
The 11th seeded Sindhu will next take on eighth seeded Sung Ji-hyun of South Korea, whom she has beaten thrice in the past, while second seed Saina will face old nemesis Wang Yihan of China, who has beaten the Indian nine times in the last 11 meetings.
Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver medallists Jwala and Ashwini too notched up a thrilling 21-15 18-21 21-19
over eighth seed Japanese pair of Reika Kakiiwa and Miyuki Maeda in a 58-minute battle.
The 2011 edition bronze medallist pair will next fight it out with another World No 17 Japanese combo of Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao tomorrow.
"It was an amazing win and an important win. I am very elated to have been able to perform this way. Japanese are not easy to play, they never give up. Their defense is one of the best, but we got better of them today," Jwala said.
However, there was heartbreak for India in the men's singles competition as World No 3 Kidambi Srikanth and World No. 12 H S Prannoy lost their respective matches after gruelling battles.
While third seed Srikanth suffered a 21-14 17-21 21-23 loss to 13th seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong, Prannoy went down 16-21 21-19 18-21 to seventh seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
Sindhu, who had spent most of the time this season nursing an injury and struggling for form, today gave a glimpse of her previous self.
World No. 13 Sindhu made her intentions clear from the very beginning as she opened up a 5-1 lead in the opening game and simply surged ahead, never letting her higher-ranked opponent catch her.
The closest the Chinese came was at 16-17 before Sindhu won three points on the trot to make it 20-16 and eventually close the opening game 21-17.
Xuerui, however, came back strongly in the second game, using all her experience as she dominated from the very first point to steal the game 21-14 and take it to the decider.
In the third game, after breaking away from tied 3-3, Sindhu ran away with a 11-6 lead at the break. But the Chinese kept breathing down her neck, clawing back at 13-13.
At 14-14, Sindhu managed to win four successive points to once again open up a 18-14 lead. Thereafter she just tightened the noose, not letting the advantage slip and sealed the issue rather comfortably in the end.
Meanwhile, World No. 2 Saina, despite struggling in the opening game, managed to come from behind and live up to her reputation to advance to the next stage.
Saina conceded an 0-7 lead in the first game before she slowly clawed back into the game, winning a point or two to keep up with her Japanese rival.
She finally could catch Takahashi at 16-16 and the game went on neck-and-neck till 18-18 before she bagged three points on the trot to win it 21-18.
In the second game, Saina took an early lead and was sailing along smoothly before she was caught by Takahashi at 12-12. After a brief battle, however, the Indian once again broke away with a three-point lead and then earned another five consecutive points to win it comfortably.