Smash Masters too good for Hyderabad

Smash Masters too good for Hyderabad

HS Prannoy whipped up a gripping mix of power and style to spur Ahmedabad Smash Masters to 4-3 victory over Hyderabad Hunters at the Premier Badminton League at Sirifort Sports Complex on Friday.

Prannoy, playing the Trump match for Masters, overwhelmed B Sai Praneeth 15-10, 15-8 in the to help Masters to an unassailable 4-1 lead over Hunters. It was a quality fare which gave a peek into the potential of Indian men's top shuttlers.

The contest assuaged the disappointment of the crowd on missing out on the highly anticipated women's singles clash between World No 1 Tai Tzu Ying and Rio Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin. Hunters chose to rest Marin, who had played in the Guwahati leg.

It had been a good year for both Prannoy and Praneeth. If Prannoy finished for the first time in top 10, Praneeth experienced the high of beating Kidambi Srilanth to clinch the Singapore Super Series title.

The  duo gave their all in the contest but Prannoy dictated  terms with his power and attacking style. Praneeth showed flashes of brilliance, but couldn't sustain it. The two were locked 10-10 in the opening game, before Prannoy broke away and went up a game.

Praneeth tried variations in the second game, but Prannoy was simply unstoppable. He combined defense and attack in a thrilling rally, closing it with a drop, and went up 10-7. He then reeled the last three points to remain unbeaten in last nine PBL contests.

It was a wonderful display by debutants Masters who were off to a sensational start when their mixed doubles pair of Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Lee Chun Hei Reginald rallied to beat Pia Zebadiah Bernadet and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy 4-15, 15-12, 15-8.

Hunters clawed their way back in the tie when veteran Lee Hyun Il made short work of Sourabh Verma, winning 15-9, 15-11. But then Tai simply toyed with World No 5 Rasika Raje for 15-5, 15-6 victory in women's singles help Masters nose ahead.

With Prannoy fetching two more points by winning the trump match, the tie was sealed but every points count in this format. The men's doubles encounter was Trump Match for Hunters whose Markis Kido and Yoo Yeon Seong defeated Kidambi Nandagopal and Lee Chun Hei Reginald 15-14, 15-11 to bridge the gap.

Results: Hyderabad Hunters lt Ahmedabad Smash Masters 3-4: Mixed doubles: Pia Zebadiah Bernadet/ Satwiksairaj Rankireddy lt Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Lee Chun Hei Reginald 15-4, 12-15, 8-15, Men's singles: Lee Hyun Il bt Sourabh Verma 15-9, 15-11, Women's singles: Rasika Raje lt Tai Tzu Ying 5-15, 6-15, Men's singles (Trump for Smashers) : B Sai Praneeth lt HS Prannoy 10-15, 8-15. Men's doubles (Trump for Hunters): Markis Kido/Yoo Yeon Seong Kidambi Nandagopa Lee Chun Hei Reginald 15-14, 15-11.

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