Madrid Masters: PV Sindhu cruises into semifinals; Kidambi Srikanth exits

PV Sindhu in action against Mia Blichfeldt in the quarterfinal of the 2023 Madrid Masters. EPA/Rodrigo Jimenez

PV Sindhu cruised to the semifinals of the Madrid Spain Masters while compatriot Kidambi Srikanth exited the tournament in Madrid on Friday. Sindhu got the better of world no. 19 Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark 21-14 21-17 to reach her first semifinal of the year. Srikanth, on the other hand, lost to top-seeded Japanese shuttler Kenta Nishimoto 18-21 15-21 in the men's singles quarterfinals.

Sindhu, seeded second, had been struggling to find her feet since returning from a long injury lay off. The 27-year-old had slipped out of the top 10 in the world rankings and hadn't been able to cross the second round in every tournament of 2023, until now.

After a sedate start to the match, the former world champion completely dominated the second half of the play to take first game comfortably. Sindhu was, however, trailing for most part of the second game. But she made an impressive comeback fighting from 6-12 down to register a straight game win.

The lone Indian left in the Super 300 tournament, Sindhu will clash with the unseeded Yeo Jia Min of Singapore for a place in the final, with the Singaporean defeating eighth-seeded Beiwen Zhang of the USA 21-16 21-14.

At the other end of the draw, Sindhu faces a potential final against Carolina Marin, although the Spaniard would have to beat Gregoria Mariska Tunjung in the semifinal.

Earlier the fifth seeded Srikanth, a former world number one, showed flashes of brilliance but the inconsistency, that has plagued him all season, once again marked the end of him. He started the first game fairly well, trailing 9-11 at the interval, but Nishimoto opened up the gap to 16-11 with a string of consecutive points.Srikanth responded, but lost out on crucial points to lose the first game 18-21.

The Indian started well enough in the second game with the two players neck-and-neck at 7-7, but Nishimoto's class told as he opened up a gap soon after and never relinquished it, closing out the game at 21-15, thus confirming Srikanth's third loss to the Japanese top-seed.

With PTI Inputs