Sindhu wins; Saina loses

IN CONTROL Beiwen Zhang of Awadhe Warriors returns during her win over Saina Newhal of North Eastern Warriors. DH PHOTO/SRIKANTA SHARMA R

A fairly large number of people had flocked the Sree Kanteerava Stadium for Wednesday’s Premier Badminton League double header. They came primarily to watch the two queens of Indian badminton — PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal — play.

While they were left extremely delighted by Sindhu, the star player of Hyderabad Hunters hammering Evginiya Kosetskaya of Delhi Dashers 15-11, 15-9 in the evening, the vociferous crowd had to return back home a disappointed lot as North Eastern Warriors’ Saina slumped to a 15-11, 11-15, 7-15 defeat at the hands of Beiwen Zhang (Awadhe Warriors) in the prime time clash.

Awadhe Warriors, thanks to Zhang’s heroics and 5-0 win, finished their group engagements at the top of the table with 25 points while Hunters, who lost 3-4, ended second with 24 points.

The newly married Saina was off the blocks in a flash against Zhang despite not playing full tilt. She was smart near the net and her potent mix of drop shots and smashes was too good for Zhang. In quick time Saina sped to a 10-5 lead and just when she thought she could wrap up the opener, Zhang hit back strongly to reduce the deficit to 8-11. Saina, however, didn’t flinch and sealed the first game 15-11.

Realising she needed to up the tempo, Zhang came out all guns blazing in the second. She relentlessly attacked Saina, delivering one smash after another to catch her cold. Saina struggled to contain Zhang’s fire and eventually lost the game 11-15.

Zhang was dominant in the third too, racing off to a 10-5 lead as Saina littered the court with unforced errors. Having opened a healthy lead, Zhang then served out the game comfortably to flatten Saina.

Results: Delhi Dashers bt Hyderabad Hunters 4-3 (HS Prannoy bt Rahul Yadav 15-10, 9-15, 15-12; B Chai/ M Jongit (T) bt Arun George/ Bodin Isara 8-15, 15-9, 15-8; Evginiya Kosetskaya lt to PV Sindhu (T) 11-15, 9-15; Tommy Sugiarto bt Mark Caljouw 15-6, 15-11; Hsin Lee/ S Wang lt to Rang Kim/ Eom Won 7-15, 12-15).

Awadhe Warriors bt North Eastern Warriors 5-0 (Lee Dong Keun bt Tian Houwei 15-10, 15-13; Mathias Christensen/ Ashwini Ponnappa (T) bt Liao Min Chun/ Kim Ha Na 15-7, 15-14; Beiwen Zhang bt Saina Nehwal (T) 11-15, 15-11, 15-7; Son Wan Ho lt to Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 8-15, 10-15; Yang Lee/ Arjun MR bt Dhruv Kapila/ Yeon Yoo Seong 15-5, 15-12).

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Sindhu wins; Saina loses

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