Sindhu earns bragging rights with win over Saina

SPORTS REPORTER
Wednesday, 2 January 2019

PV Sindhu, who had lost her last two matches against Sung Ji Hyun and Beiwen Zhang, ended the match with a 11-15, 15-9, 15-5 victory

PUNE: World silver medallist PV Sindhu began 2019 with a morale boosting win over Saina Nehwal to give defending champions Hyderabad Hunters crucial 3-1 lead over North Eastern Warriors in the Premier Badminton League tie at the Balewadi Sports Complex Stadium here on Tuesday.

Sindhu, who had lost her last two matches in the PBL against Sung Ji Hyun and Beiwen Zhang, was keen to start the year with a win and there couldn’t have been a bigger opponent than Saina as Sindhu ended the match with a 11-15, 15-9, 15-5 win.

Saina had sat out in the last three matches of North Eastern Warriors due to a shin injury and she clearly struggled in long rallies, but she fought back from 7-10 down to win the first game.

Sindhu, however, raised the tempo in the second game as she raced to 8-3 lead and though Saina fought back to close the gap, the Rio Olympics silver medallist always looked in control.

Saina looked tired in the third and final game and Sindhu simply dominated the proceedings thereafter as the Commonwealth Games gold medallist struggled to lunge towards her forehand and lost the decider rather easily.

Earlier, the experienced Lee Hyun Il got the Hunters back into the contest from the brink as he fought back from a game down to win her trump against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.

With the Hunters trailing 0-1 following the 8-15, 14-15 loss of Kim Sa Rang and Eom Hye Won in the opening mixed doubles match against Kim Ha Na and Liao Min Chun, Lee had to win the team’s trump.

And it looked an arduous task when Tanongsak dominated the opening game and looked on a roll. 

But Lee is a veteran of many a battles and the 38-year-old showed why he is still considered the most dangerous opponent on the circuit as he moved his Thai opponent all around the court to take a 7-1 lead in the second game and then held on to the advantage to force a decider.

Tanongsak lost his steam after the Lee master class in the second game as he was always chasing the game in the decider and the Hunters earned two points with a 10-15, 15-13, 15-9 win before Saina and Sindhu took the court in front of a packed stadium.

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