Blasters slump to second defeat

Badminton PBL : Battling hosts go down to Hyderabad 3-4

Blasters slump to second defeat

The Koramangala Indoor Stadium was a cauldron of anticipation and excitement even in the third game of the decider as Rio gold medallist Carolina Marin took on an unlikely opponent in Ashwini Ponnappa.

Ashwini went into the mid-game break leading 6-4 as the 1500-odd spectators waited with baited breath to see if they could witness an almighty upset but the gritty Spaniard held her nerve to win the decider 11-8.

It would be fair to say that the result would have been a no-brainer before the tie started, considering the fact that Ashwini hadn't played a competitive singles game in around six years.

But the Bengaluru lass came out all guns blazing to claim the first 11-9.
This opened the door for Ashwini to effect a mighty upset but she couldn't maintain her tempo as Marin rallied to win the second 11-5. With the win, the Hyderabad Hunters triumphed 4-3 in the tie as Bengaluru Blasters slumped to their second consecutive defeat in the Premier Badminton League.

The turning point of the tie was in the men's doubles as it was a make or break for Hyderabad, who were already down 3-1.

A win would have given the Blasters an unassailable 4-1 lead with only two points at stake after that.

It was inspirational stuff from the Hunters’ Malaysian duo of Boon Heong Tan and Wee Kiong Tan as they came back from the dead to beat Bengaluru's Korean pair of Sung Hyun Ko and Yeon Seong Yoo 5-11, 13-11, 11-8.

The Koreans were admirable in the first game with clear communication and good court sense to put the pressure on their opponents.

But the composed Malaysians showed their class to come from 6-9 down in the second to push the match into a decider. Blasters' Danish superstar Viktor Axelsen blew away former National Champion B Sai Praneeth 11-6, 11-5 in the home side's trump match.

The 23-year-old Axelsen put his opponent on the defensive right from the word go as he utilised his six-foot-four-inch frame to best effect, executing some stinging smashes.

In the first match of the day, Bengaluru's Thai shuttler Boonsak Ponsana  went down to Sameer Verma  8-11, 7-11 that handed the visitors a 1-0 lead.

The Blasters' mixed doubles pairing of Sung Hyun Ko and Sikki Reddy brought their side back into the tie as they put out a thorough performance against Carolina Marin and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.

The Hyderabad duo was neck and neck in the first game but Ko and Reddy dominated the second to complete a 11-9, 11-7 win.

Results: Men's Singles: Sameer Verma bt Boonsak Ponsana: 11-8, 11-7; (Trump Bengaluru Blasters): Viktor Axelsen bt Sai Praneeth B: 11-5, 11-6

Women's singles (Trump Hyderabad Hunters): Carolina Marin bt Ashwini Ponappa: 9-11, 11-5, 11-8

Men's doubles: Boon Heong Tan/Wee Kiong Tan bt Sung Hyun Ko/Yeon Seong Yoo: 5-11, 13-11, 11-8

Mixed doubles: Sung Hyun Ko/Sikki Reddy bt Carolina Marin/Satwiksairaj Rankireddy 11-9, 11-7.

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