Top seed PV Sindhu staved off a gutsy fightback from Assam’s Ashmita Chaliha to enter the final at the 83rd Senior National Badminton Championships here in Guwahati on Friday.
The two-time champion had to claw her way back from 16-19 down in the second game and needed two match points to douse the challenge of the spirited fourth seed Chaliha 21-10, 22-20.
Egged on by the motley crowd, Chaliha drew level at 13-13 and jumped into a 17-14 lead against the Rio Olympic silver medallist before advancing to 19-16. However, Sindhu’s vast experience came in handy and she evened the score at 19-19 to have a match point at 20-19.
The resilient Chaliha was not done yet and she saved the first match point only to see her world number six opponent wrapped it up on her in 38 minutes.
In the other semi-final matches of the day, Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg lived up to their reputation as the top seeds in mixed doubles.
World number 46 pair needed only 32 minutes to dispatch Vighnesh Devlekar and Harika V 21-15, 21-16 to enter the final.
They will take on the unseeded duo of Manu Attri and Maneesha K, who continued their rampage with a fine 21-18, 21-17 win over Shlok Ramchandran and Mithula.
In women’s doubles, top seeds Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram continued their quest for the title with a strong 21-13, 21-16 victory over Kuhoo Garg and Anoushka Parikh.
They will take on the unseeded Shikha Gautam and Ashwini Bhat K in the summit clash after the latter edged Aparna Balan and Sruthi KP 21-19, 24-22.
Men’s doubles second seeds Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty defeated Arun George and Sanyam Shukla 21-17, 21-18 to secure a place in the final.
Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal has set up a mouth-watering final. In a repeat of last edition's title clash at Nagpur, the two stalwarts will look to outdo each other and write another chapter in their on-field rivalry.
Saina got the better of Nagpur qualifier Vaishnavi Bhale, who was part of India's Uber Cup squad last year, 21-15 21-14 to storm into the finals.
Saina had the last laugh against Sindhu in the last two encounters at the Nagpur Nationals in 2017 and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold-medal match last year.
While Saina has won the title in 2006, 2007 and 2018, Sindhu clinched the trophy twice, in 2011 and 2013.
"It will be just another match and I don't think it will help me for All England, I will just look to focus and give my best," Sindhu said about the final.