Taiwan's Tai ends Sindhu's Olympic badminton gold hopes

TOKYO: Women's badminton world number one Tai Tzu-ying ousted P.V. Sindhu in the Olympic semi-finals on Saturday, ending her bid to become only India's second ever individual gold medallist.

Taiwan's Tai made short work of world champion Sindhu, beating her 21-18, 21-12 to set up a final showdown with China's Chen Yufei.

Sindhu was aiming to go one better than the silver medal she won at Rio 2016, but she still has a chance to claim bronze against China's He Bingjiao on Sunday.

"It's sad that I couldn't go to the final," said Sindhu.

"I'm sure a lot of people from India supported me and showed me their love. It just wasn't my day, but I'm going to try again tomorrow."

Tai's win means Taiwan is guaranteed another Olympic badminton medal, after Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin reached the final of the men's doubles.

"I think I did pretty well today," said Tai. "I didn't make many mistakes, so I didn't feel so much pressure."

The 27-year-old will play Chen for gold, after the Chinese world number two beat compatriot and training partner He 21-16, 13-21, 21-12.

"It's very difficult for me because we're very familiar with each other," Chen said of He, the world number nine.

In men's singles, Denmark's world number two Viktor Axelsen cruised into the semi-finals, but compatriot Anders Antonsen was unable to join him.

Axelsen beat China's Shi Yuqi 21-13, 21-13 to set up a clash with Guatemalan world number 59 Kevin Cordon, who kept his fairytale run going with a 21-13, 21-18 win over South Korea's Heo Kwang-hee.

But Antonsen stumbled in his quarter-final against Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, going down 21-18, 15-21, 21-18.

Ginting will face China's Chen Long in the final four, after the defending champion beat Taiwan's world number four Chou Tien-chen 21-14, 9-21, 21-14.

Axelsen was all business as he dispatched Shi, completing the match in just 41 minutes.

"Making it look quite comfortable and the feeling you have on court are two different things," said Axelsen, the tournament favourite after world number one Kento Momota suffered a shock early exit.

World number three Antonsen clawed his way back after losing the first game against Ginting, but was unable to last the pace.

"In the end he was better, definitely," said Antonsen.

"Right now it hurts, it hurts really bad. I have to deal with that pain in the next few weeks."

Cordon edged a step closer to winning Guatemala's second-ever Olympic medal with his win over Heo, who knocked out Momota in the group stage.

The 34-year-old journeyman crumpled to the ground in disbelief after hitting the match-winning point, then lay sobbing on court.

"I'm still a kid, playing like a kid, having fun, trying to do my best," said Cordon.

"Can you believe that I'm in a semi-final right now? This feeling is just amazing."

In women's doubles Indonesia's Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu will play China's Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan in the final.--AFP

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