Sindhu eases into Hong Kong Open semis

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Last year, Sindhu had defeated the Japanese twice: in the Dubai World Super Series Finals in December, and the BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals in May.

In a meeting between 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist PV Sindhu and World No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi last month at French Open Super Series, the Japanese had come out on top.

PV Sindhu marched into the quarterfinals of Hong Kong Open badminton tournament after comfortably defeating Japan's Aya Ohori 21-14, 21-17 in Kowloon on Thursday. Saina started with a 1-7 lead and dominated till 18-13 before Yufei found her rhythm.

While, in the second game, Sindhu had to fight hard to ensure a win for herself as the Japanese was leading initially and was just few points away to push the match into a decider. Sixth seed Ratchanok beat Canadian Michelle Li 21-14, 21-16 in 39 minutes in the other quarterfinal.

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Yamaguchi and Sindhu have met seven times in their careers; Sindhu leads the head-to-head with four wins to Yamaguchi's two.

In contrast to Sindhu, former champion Saina Nehwal laboured to her first round win.

However, it was curtains for Saina Nehwal and H.S. Prannoy.

It was also curtains for India in the men's singles after 10th-ranked HS Prannoy went down fighting to Japan's Kazumasa Sakai 21-11, 10-21, 15-21 in a 54-minute battle. Kashyap lost 21-15, 9-21, 20-22 to South Korean Lee Dong Keun in an hour and nine minutes.