Last moment changed it all: PV Sindhu

Last moment changed it all: PV Sindhu

Okuhara had defeated India's Saina Nehwal to reach the finals of the Championship. I just have to play my game and give my best tomorrow.

The women also produced a first-time victor.

After losing the first game 19-21, Sindhu pulled out all stops to first level the match by winning the second 22-20 and then putting everything on line in the decider but lost it 20-22. Sindhu had won the bronze at the World Championships in 2013 and 2014.

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Saina kept pace with her younger and sharper opponent but she got exhausted towards the end. He was third at the Olympics past year and won the World Superseries Finals in the absence of the resting big names.

While the gruelling contest was on between Sindhu and Okuhara, Sehwag had tweeted: "Making India switch off from watching a cricket match while we are batting, what a joy to watch".

There was huge support for Sindhu at the Emirates Arena and she took advantage of that to race away to an 11-5 lead in the first game. Denmark's Viktor Axelsen also reached the last four.

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"If you could see me on the inside, I was shaking", Axelsen said. Saina's knees, ankles, shoulder and arms are obviously not what they were five years ago. India finally had a medal other than bronze at a world championship. But the smaller, speedy Okuhara suddenly found another gear and edged the first game.

At 2-2 in the first game, Saina and Okuhara played a tough 32-shot rally where both players targeted the corners.

Okuhara got off to a flying start in the second game, taking a 4-0 lead but the 27-year-old Saina fought back and equalised at the nine-point mark. Though the London Olympic bronze medallist dominated her opponent in the first game, Okuhara came back strong to win the second and the third games. Sindhu bent over, too exhausted to acknowledge the crowd's standing ovation. The rally for 13-13 went 42 shots.

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Saina kept fighting but she looked a tad sluggish with her movements and lacked precision in final moments as Okuhara managed to move to 19-9.Saina hit wide again to hand over 11 match point opportunities to Okuhara.

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