New Delhi: Touted as the match of the tournament, Hyderabad Hotshots’ Saina Nehwal came out victorious against Awadhe Warriors’ P.V. Sindhu, as the Deccan team won the Indian Badminton League (IBL) tie 3-2 here Thursday.
With the win, the Hotshots bagged four points (including a bonus) while the Warriors had to be content with two.
The Hotshots icon player won the match 21-19, 21-8 in front of a capacity crowd who had turned out in huge numbers to see the two Indian shuttle queens take on each other for the first time in a competitive match at the Siri Fort Sports Complex. Finance minister P.C. Chidambaram was also present and wished them before the Independence Day clash.
The second match of the day started with Sindhu kicking off in fantastic fashion by continuing her World Championship form, with a lead of 8-4 against the World No.4. The 18-year-old excelled at the net outpacing Saina.
But the Olympic bronze medallist displayed her skills and retrieved several smashes from Sindhu to level the score at 9-9. Sindhu’s all-round court coverage proved decisive and she reverted back by taking a crucial 15-10 lead.
But the 23-year-old Saina found legs and bagged the next seven points to take the lead for the first time in the match (17-15). Sindhu fought back and reduced Saina’s lead to 18-17.
At this time, the crowd did not know who to support as they would chant Saina’s name at one moment and Sindhu’s in the next. National coach and mentor of the duo Pullela Gopichand stood relaxed at a distance and smiled seeing the level of competition of his protégés.
Saina’s showed who is the more experienced of the two and in the end was easily able to seal the game.
The senior Hyderabadi started the second game in aggressive fashion against the 18-year-old. Though Sindhu matched her senior at the start, a deceptive and aggressive Saina took flight and raced away to a 7-4 advantage.
After a couple of hiccups, the Hotshots icon player completely outplayed her junior sparring partner by first rushing to 12-5 and then to a 17-7 lead. By this time, Sindhu’s body language showed lack of confidence and Saina put the match in her kitty in the next five points.
“Sindhu gave me a tough time in the beginning but the cheer from the crowd really helped me in giving my best and I hope I can continue to live up to the expectations of the crowd and my team. The way Sindhu plays, I’m sure she has a bright future ahead,” Saina said.
Earlier, Hotshots’ Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk gave the team a 1-0 lead in the first men’s singles match against Warriors’ R.M.V. Gurusaidutt. The Thai shuttler won 15-21, 21-14, 11-9 against the World No.20 Indian.
With 0-2 behind, Mathias Boe and Markis Kido put the Warriors’ back in contention by winning the men’s doubles match against Hyderabad’s Goh V. Shem and Khim Wah Lim. Boe and Kido won 21-14, 21-20 to reduce Hotshots’ lead to 1-2.
Warriors’ Kidambi Srikanth won the second men’s singles match against Hotshots’ Ajay Jayaram to level the tie at 2-all. The Thailand Open winner upset the World No.24 Jayaram 21-17, 21-19.
With the score tied at 2-all, the mixed doubles event decided the fate of the tie. Goh V. Shem and Pradnya Gadre gave the victory to the Hotshots against Markis Kido and Taerattanachai Sapsiree of the Warriors by wining 21-9, 19-21, 11-8.
Results: Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Hotshots) beat R.M.V. Gurusaidutt (Warriors) 15-21,
21-14, 11-9; Saina Nehwal (Hotshots) beat P.V. Sindhu (Warriors) 21-19, 21-8; Mathias Boe/Markis Kido (Warriors) beat Goh V. Shem/Khim Wah (Hotshots) 21-14, 21-20; K. Srikanth (Warriors) beat Ajay Jayaram (Hotshots) 21-17, 21-19; Goh V. Shem/Pradnya Gadre (Hotshots) beat Markis Kido/Taerattanachai Sapsiree (Warriors) 21-9, 19-21, 11-8.