New Delhi, Aug 19 : Hailing PV Sindhu's historic semifinal victory at the Rio Olympics, former Asian champion Dinesh Khanna has exuded confidence that the ace women's singles shuttler will return home with an Olympic gold.
The 21-year-old lanky shuttler from Hyderabad produced a perfect blend of power and precision to register a 21-19, 21-10 win over reigning All England singles champion Nozomi Okohura of Japan in a thrilling women's singles contest on Thursday.
With the win, she has become the second Indian player in badminton to win an Olympic medal after Saina Nehwal, who had clinched bronze in London four years ago.
Sindhu will take on Spain's Carolina Marin in the final later in the day in her bid to become the first Indian shuttler to win a Gold or Silver medal in the prestigious quadrennial event.
"PV Sindhu has been playing an exceptional badminton. Earlier, she used to thrive on attack, but now she is a complete player where she is equally comfortable in defence.
She has shown great retrieving abilities in her matches against Tai Tzu Ying in pre-quarterfinals and against Wang Yihan in quarterfinals.
In the last three meeting, Nozomi Okuhara defeated Sindhu. But, Sindhu played a very patient game. She waited for the right opportunities, went to smash and combined her smashes and drop shots beautifully and when Nozomi Okuhara expected she will going to smash she tossed because she never thought Sindhu will go into such long rallies and that is what caught Nozomi Okuhara by surprise," said Dinesh, who won the inaugural Asian Championships in 1965.
"I have very high hopes for the finals. I think she will definitely have an edge over the world champion Carolina Marin because she is not hesitating to go into rallies," he added.
Veteran badminton player Supriya Devgan was also effusive in his praise for Sindhu, describing the ace shuttler's performance as flawless.
"I am totally elated. I think the country is celebrating right now. This is a historic moment in India's dictionary right now. PV Sindhu has made us really proud. She has been playing fabulous badminton throughout the tournament," said Supriya. "She has been totally in charge. Even today, she was absolutely flawless, fantastic badminton, perfect court coverage, beautiful mobility, totally in charge, aggression like a tigress.
I have never seen her play as well as she has played today. I hope she takes gold and brings that back to India," she added. Sindhu also became the fifth Indian woman to clinch a medal in Olympics history after Karnam Malleswari, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Sakshi Malik.