The Premier Badminton League has been fortunate to witness two blockbuster games in the first two days. Yesterday it was PV Sindhu vs Carolina Marin and today it was Saina Nehwal vs Carolina Marin!
The Olympic gold medallist prevailed in both encounters but was certainly given a run for her money by both these Indian stalwarts. Saina couldn’t take a set off Marin, but she certainly gave her a run for her money in the first game, losing out 15-14. The second game offered so much hope but Saina ultimately succumbed to a rather tame 11-5 loss, thereby gifting Marin the match in two straight sets.
It has been a difficult period for Saina Nehwal, suffering a horrific knee injury at Rio and since then taking time off in order to recuperate from the injury.
After the game Saina said that she was just happy to be returning to competitive badminton.
“I think it was a difficult journey for me from injury. I am happy to be playing. She (Marin) played yesterday and she is used to the conditions. I am happy that I am coming back”
But despite Marin’s outright victory, Hyderabad Hunters couldn’t secure a win.
Hyderabad succumbed to a loss in the men’s doubles, which was their trump match and hence had to give up on the one point they had gained through Marin’s victory.
Sai Praneeth fought tooth and nail against Wong(World number 17) but ultimately he didn’t have the killer instinct to finish off the game in the decider. Wong played the crucial points better and sealed the match 13-11 in the final set.
But it was the mixed doubles encounter that proved to be the decisive one. The pairing of Savitree Amritpal- Bodin Isara proved to be too good for Hoi Wah Chau- Satwiksairaj Rankireddy of the Hunters. This match fetched the Awadhe Warriors 2 points as it was their trump match, something that helped them get a stranglehold over the game.
The stage was set for Kidambi Srikanth to secure a win for his side and secure a win he did. But it wasn’t without a few roadblocks. Hyderbad’s Rajiv Ouseph put up an inspired performance but ultimately had to give in to the clean strokeplay of Srikanth.
With Awadhe leading the match 4-1, the final men’s doubles was inconsequential, as even a win would have fetched them a maximum of 2 points, which wasn’t enough to hand them the match.