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All England Open: Sindhu suffers frustrating semifinal loss against Chochuwong

PV Sindhu in action during the 2021 All England Open Badminton Championships at Utilita Arena Birmingham. Naomi Baker/Getty Images

PV Sindhu lost to Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong 17-21, 9-21 in the semifinals of the All England Open in Birmingham on Saturday.

In the first game, the two players split the first eight points before Chochuwong began using her deft touch to assert control. A sharply-angled, short crosscourt backhand from the Thai player, followed by a Sindhu forehand landing just wide and two incorrectly-judged leaves from the Indian helped Chochuwong go into the break leading 11-6. Coming into the match, World No. 11 Chochuwong, ranked four places below Sindhu, trailed her head-to-head against Sindhu 4-1, but she was already more settled and in control of the match. She used her defence and exploited the full court to stretch her lead to 14-7 before Sindhu began a fightback.

The Indian won six of the next seven points to make it 15-13. Chochuwong then hit two big smashes and celebrated them with emphatic screams before Sindhu did the same to cut the deficit to 17-16. Chochuwong then played perhaps the most important point of the match by hitting an incredible short return that Sindhu couldn't reach to make it 18-16. She then played another great drop shot to bring up four game points, converting on the second via a deep lift from Sindhu that landed out.

Chochuwong carried her momentum into the second game, pulling ahead early. From 4-3 up, the Thai player won seven of the next eight points to lead 11-4 at the changeover. Chochuwong was firmly in control by then, her defence and her soft hands combining well to unsettle Sindhu, who began to appear a bit frustrated with the state of the match. Sindhu responded by dialing up the aggression, which did fetch her a few points but also led to an increase in errors. The Indian won just five points after the break as Chochuwong calmly closed out the match to make her maiden All England final.

Sindhu's loss means she is now 0-2 in All England semifinals, having lost to Akane Yamaguchi in the 2018 edition of the tournament. Sindhu lost to Carolina Marin in the final of the Swiss Open two weeks ago.