Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu smashed her way into the record books by entering the final of women's singles with a commanding win—21-19 21-10—over Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in Rio de Janeiro.
Having assured India of at least a silver, Sindhu will now play Carolina Marin of Spain in the final on Friday, 7.30pm IST. It will be India's second medal at the Rio Olympics after wrestler Sakshi Malik ended India's medal drought with a bronze in the 58kg freestyle category.
Sindhu is only the fifth Indian woman to win a medal in the history of the Games and will be the first to win either silver or gold. The others—Karnam Malleshwari, Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal—won bronze.
Her hold over the match was never in doubt. Though she started off with a slight stumble, she hardly put a foot wrong in the first game leading 4-2. Okuhara, however, managed to claw back to 5-4 but Sindhu used her height well to keep her at bay and away from the net. The Indian shuttler went into the break with a five-point lead at 11-6.
There were glimpses of a comeback from Okuhara after the break, drawing unforced errors from Sindhu to reduce the lead to 16-14 and then 18-17. But, the 21-year-old Indian carried on aggressively to win the first game, without trailing even once during the whole game.
She continued in her rich vein of form in the second game, too, racing to a 3-0 lead. But, the world number 6 came back strongly to take the lead for the first time in the match at 5-4. An unforced error saw Sindhu concede the lead again to Okuhara at 7-5. But Sindhu, with a brilliant mix of drop shots and cross-court smashes, managed to come back into the match, going into the break leading 11-10.
After the break, however, it was one-way traffic. Such was Sindhu's dominance in the second game that she reeled off 11 consecutive points (including one before the break) to win the match.
I Take a bow Pusarla Venkat Sindhu!! Note down the name.
Earlier, current world number one Marin won 21-14 21-16 in the first semifinal against Li Xuerui of China, who was struggling with a knee injury.