Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu eked
out a thrilling win over China’s He Bing Jiao to enter the women’s singles
semifinals of the Badminton Asia Championships here on Friday.

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With this win, Sindhu assured herself of
a medal in the continental individual championships, which is making a return
after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fourth-seeded Sindhu, who had
claimed a bronze in the 2014 Gimcheon edition, got the better of the fifth-seeded Chinese 21-9 13-21 21-19 in a quarterfinal match that lasted an hour and
16 minutes.

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The 26-year-old from Hyderabad, who won
two super 300 titles at Syed Modi International and Swiss Open, will face top-seeded Japanese Akane Yamaguchi in the semifinals.

World number 7 Sindhu came into the
match with a 7-9 head-to-head record against Bing Jiao, whom she had beaten
twice in the last two meetings.

It was at the Tokyo Games that Sindhu
had last played Bing Jiao on way to her bronze at the Olympics and the Indian
ace kept her nerves in the closing stages to once again emerge victories in a
pulsating contest.

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The former world champion made her intent
clear from the start as she galloped to an 11-2 lead in no time and then kept
things under her firm grip to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

Bing Jiao came back strongly after the
change of sides as errors flew from Sindhu’s racquet. The Chinese soon moved to
a 6-4 lead before managing a slender 11-10 advantage. The world number 9 looked
for angles in her returns, while Sindhu was guilty of making too many errors.

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After the break, the Chinese reeled off
five points on the trot to grab a 19-12 lead to eventually roar back into the

In the decider, it was 2-2 early on as
Sindhu looked to step up the pace. Soon she unleashed her cross-court smashes
to gather points, moving to a massive 11-5 lead going into the final change of

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Bing Jiao, however, scripted a recovery
after the interval to narrow down the deficit to 15-16 as Sindhu let the
momentum slip despite being 15-9 up at one stage.

It was 18-16 next with Sindhu’s slice
going to the net. The Indian then unleashed a body smash before grabbing four
match points with Bing Jiao erring on the backcourt.

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The Chinese saved three match points
before Sindhu converted the fourth to seal the contest in her favour.