Dispelling suggestions that the Rio Olympics women's singles semifinal opponent could be a pushover, India's chief badminton coach Pullela Gopichand said his protege PV Sindhu will have to come up with another spirited performance to beat the Japanese world number six Nozomi Okuhara.
Double World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu now has two shots at landing a medal for India as she takes on the Japanese rival in the semifinal later in the day. If she loses, she will play a bronze medal play off with the loser of the other semifinal.
"Each match is tough. She is up against the All England Champion. She is not a small player by any norm. I believe she will have to really fight hard to win this game," Gopichand told ANI.
Sindhu has been in terrific form in this year's prestigious quadrennial event, trouncing two higher ranked opponents - Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying and world number two Wang Yihan in the pre-quarterfinal and the quarterfinal, respectively.
Reflecting on Sindhu's resilient quarterfinal victory, Gopichand said, "I think both players played really tight. At no stage of the match, did anybody have a clear lead expect for a little time in the second game. But I think overall the way Sindhu fought was very creditable. It was very tight match."
India, who have sent their largest-ever contingent of 119 athletes at the Rio Olympics, are now pinning their hopes on Sindhu to bring home another medal after Sakshi Malik, who won bronze in the 58kg women freestyle wrestling event on Wednesday.