Another woman. Another medal. This time its badminton sensation Pusarla Venkata Sindhu. Yes, let that name sink in.
The 21-year-old Hyderabadi shuttler defeated her Japanese opponent Nozomi Okuhara 21-19, 21-10 on 18 August to enter the finals and assure herself of a medal - silver or gold. She will take on Spain's Carolina Marin in the final on Friday, 19 August.
Sindhu used her height and a better serve to her advantage throughout the first set and more so in the second set. Okuhara managed to stay in touch and never gave Sindhu a chance to breathe. Sindhu's lead was cut short due to a couple of unforced errors and at 15-13 in the fist game, it looked like it could go either way. Sindhu managed to just pull it out of the hat and came out winning the first game 21-19.
Okuhara started the second game the stronger of the two and looked to be taking this into a decider. At 9-9, the match was poised for a thrilling finish. It wasn't meant to be. Sindhu seized the moment and won 11 straight points to reach the final. She won the second game 21-11. The match lasted just 49 minutes.
"It's not like pressure but it is a big moment for me playing in the final, so it's just I have to do my best and play my 100 percent game and that's all I feel," she told reporters after her win.
"Of course, (Marin) is a very tough opponent. It's not going to be easy tomorrow because it's another big final. And she's really playing well.
"She played brilliantly against Li Xuerui today. So I suggest that tomorrow, who plays well and gives their best is the winner."
Coming into the match, SIndhu's record against the Japanese was 1-3. Sindhu needed to rise to the occasion and that she did. Sindhu outclassed her opponent and gave her no chance in during the end of the match. The way Sindhu was playing, she could have taken on anyone in the world. Her mantra was smash after smash.
Sindhu is the tenth-ranked player in the world. Earlier, she defeated world no. 2 from China Yihan Wang and now world no 6 from Japan Okuhara. Some of the credit goes to her coach and 2001 All England Open Badminton champion Pullela Gopichand. Sindhu comes from a family of volleyball players but took up badminton at the age of eight.
Sindhu's performance has given India hope for at least one gold medal before the Rio Games come to an end. Sindhu has a 2-4 record against Carolina Marin and the latter will be the favourite. The confidence and momentum Sindhu takes into the final will be something Marin will have to watch out for.
This will be medal No. 2 for India at the Rio Games after wrestler Sakshi Malik won the bronze in women's 58kg freestyle on Wednesday, 17 August. Sindhu is the first ever Indian to reach the final of a badminton event at the Olympics. This is India's second badminton medal following Saina Nehwal's bronze in the same event in London