Rio Olympic silver medalist Pusarla V Sindhu won her trump game after facing some anxious moments as Chennai Smashers drubbed Bengaluru Smashers 5-0 in a Premier Badminton League contest at the NSCI Stadium here today.
After Kashyap gave Chennai a 1-0 lead by outclassing his less experienced but currently higher ranked rival Sourabh Varma, Sindhu secured two points for her team by winning the trump game against Cheung Ngan Yi, also in straight games, to help Chennai take 3-0 lead. Then the husband-wife doubles pair of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock from Britain provided the Smashers with the winning 4-0 lead by edging out Bengaluru’s Korea-India combine of Yeon Seong Yoo and Ashwini Ponnappa in three games in a thrilling mixed doubles match, to render the last two matches in the tie inconsequential.
The victory was Chennai’s first of the season as they had lost to Hyderabad Hunters 3-4 in the tournament opener on January 1 in Hyderabad. It was Bengaluru’s first loss in two ties, after their 4-3 win over Delhi Acers. The top match of the day was Sindhu versus her Hong Kong rival Cheung. Although the Indian star won in straight games (12-10 11-6) she, with a current world ranking of 6, had to come from behind in both games. The Indian shuttler trailed 0-5 and then 0-3 against her Hong Kong rival who is ranked 19.
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Sindhu had to save a game-point to win the first game over extra points and then fought back well in the second after trailing her rival before taking full control of the match. “This was a good game for me. Though I conceded a lead in both the game, I came back strong. I am happy to get my first win of the season. Against Marin too, I won the first game, but she bounced back wonderfully. In this match, I didn’t look to change much, but stick to my aggressive style of play,” Sindhu said after her win.
Sindhu’s superior smashing power against the dogged retrieval of her rival enthralled the crowd. It was the lanky Indian star’s first win in this PBL season after her lost to Olympic Games gold medal winner Carolina Marin, who plays for Hyderabad Hunters, in her home town Hyderabad in Chennai Smashers’ first encounter. In the first game, Sindhu fell behind early on, narrowed the gap to 4-6 but then trailed again before catching up her rival for the second time at 9 with a winning smash. She was a game-point down by netting the ‘bird’, but drew level at 10 with another smash winner. A nervous Cheung netted the ‘bird’ twice in succession to concede the opening game.
Sindhu caught up at 4-all in the second game after trailing in the beginning and then went ahead with a fine smash winner. She did not look behind thereafter as she won three more points to lead 8-4 and then went up to match-point with a flat shot winner before clinching the next point easily.