Rio Olympics silver medallist P V Sindhu produced a disciplined performance to outwit Saina Nehwal in straight games in a much-anticipated encounter as Chennai Smashers entered the finals of the Premier Badminton League season 2 with a 4-1 win over Awadhe Warriors in New Delhi yesterday.
China Open champion Sindhu, who has never defeated London Olympics bronze winner Saina in a tournament, finally exorcised the ghosts of her losses with a 11-7 11-8 victory over her senior colleague in a crucial women’s singles clash which was Chennai’s trump match.
The Warriors then needed to win their men’s doubles Trump match but V Shem Goh and Markis Kido failed to produce the desired result and went down 3-11 10-12 to Chennai’s Chris Adcock and Mads Pieler Kolding in the final rubber.
Earlier, Awadhe Warriors grabbed early lead against Chennai Smashers with World No. 10 Thai pair of Savitree Amitrapal and Bodin Isara defeating Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair, 9-11 11-8 11-5 in the opening match.
However, Parupalli Kashyap brought Chennai back into the contest as he produced a measured game with controlled aggression to outwit W Ki Vincent Wong 11-4 11-6 to make it 1-1.
The second men’s singles pitted Rio Olympics quarterfinalist Kidambi Srikanth against 2014 World Championship bronze medallist Tommy Sugiarto and the Indian dished out a gritty performance to stave off the challenge from the Indonesian with a 14-12 11-7 win to put Awadhe Warriors 2-1 ahead after the third match.
Expectations then touched a crescendo as Sindhu and Sindhu took the court with crowd rooting for the two stalwarts in equal measure.
The match started on a pulsating note as Sindhu tried to push Saina at the back of the court and then catch her at the net. Her ploy worked initially as she led 4-2. But, Sindhu committed a series of errors as her miscued drops found the net and also went out as Saina kept breathing down the neck at 5-5.
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Saina moved into the break with a slender 6-5 lead after Sindhu hit long.
After the breather, Saina moved into a 7-6 lead before she smashed at the nets to allow Sindhu level the score. Another error in a net dribble and the tables had turned as Sindhu led 8-7.
Saina pushed another one out and then Sindhu caught her opponent at the forecourt to move to game point. Sindhu finally grabbed the opening game after Saina hit wide.