Saina Nehwal, in Pune, on Thursday
Pune: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal shepherded Hyderabad Hotshots to a comfortable 3-2 victory over Mumbai Masters in the inaugural Indian Badminton League (IBL) at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi here today.
Despite a thrilling victory by world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Mumbai Masters in the opening match, the Hotshots bounced back with Saina winning her women’s singles. That was followed by men’s doubles and the second men’s singles wins, to seal the match in the Hyderabad team’s favour.
Having registered three victories from four outings, the Hotshots are at the top of the table with 15 points. Two-time silver medallist at the Olympics, Lee opened the account for Mumbai Masters with a thrilling 21-19, 11-21, 11-5 win over Ajay Jayaram in the first men’s singles that lasted 47 minutes.
However, world No. 4 Saina Nehwal thrashed P C Thulasi 21-7, 21-10 in a 28-minute women’s singles match to bring Hyderabad’s campaign back on track here.
The men’s doubles combo of V Shem Goh and W L Khim and then the men’s singles player Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk emerged victorious.
Hyderabad’s Goh and Khim took the court against B S Reddy and Manu Attri of Mumbai in the men’s doubles match and the duo rallied from a game down to give the Hotshots a 2-1 lead with a 11-21, 21-16, 11-9 victory.
“Both Reddy and Attri played very well which put us under pressure from the beginning. But the support of the crowd for our team brought us back in the game,” Goh and Khim said after registering the victory.
At this juncture, the onus was on Marc Zweibler of Germany to bring Mumbai back into the contest, but the world No. 12 was stunned 21-19, 17-21, 11-6 by the Saensomboonsuk of Thailand, who is ranked 19th, to give Hyderabad an unassailable 3-1 lead.
“I really enjoyed playing. Marc was good competition for me, but my confidence levels were very high from the beginning and it reflected in my winning shots,” Tanongsak said.
Mumbai, however, managed to reduce the margin of defeat with Vladimir Ivanov and Sikki Reddy beating Tarun Kona and Padyna Gadre of Hyderabad 21-18, 21-19 in the mixed doubles match.
Awadhe Warriors came down heavily on Krrish Delhi Smashers on Thursday, winning 4-1. They had it easy in the men's and women's singles and mixed doubles. Krrish Delhi Smashers tried hard, but were no match for the Warriors.
PV Sindhu and K Srikanth won their respective singles matches as Awadhe Warriors led 2-1 over Krrish Delhi Smashers here.
World No 4 Malaysian pair of Kien Keat Koo and Boon Hoeng Tan pulled one back for Krrish Delhi Smashers by winning the men’s doubles.
Thailand Grand Prix Gold winner, Srikanth started the proceedings for the Warriors, who are yet to win a tie in the competition.
The Andhra Pradesh lad rode on his powerful smashes and better placements to tame B Sai Praneeth 21-14, 21-9 in the first men’s singles match to give Awadhe a 1-0 lead at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi here.
World Championship bronze medallist, Sindhu, then prevailed over Arundhati Pantawane 21-16, 21-17 in the women’s singles match to take a 2-0 lead. Srikanth, who was leading 19-9 at one stage in the second game, said he was well prepared for the clash.
In the second game, Pantawane and Sindhu were tied at 6-6 at one stage, but soon the Hyderabadi stretched her lead to 13-7 and wrapped up the game comfortably.
World No. 4 Malaysian pair of Kien Keat Koo and Boon Hoeng Tan then kept hopes alive for the Smashers with a 21-16, 21-19 victory over Markis Kido and Mathias Boe.In later matches, R M V Guru Sai Dutt of Awadhe Warriors beat Liew Daren 21-16, 21-20. In the last match of the day, Markis Kido and Pia Z Bernadet got the better of Delhi's Diju and Prajakta Sawant 21-20, 21-19. (PTI)