PBL: Carolina Marin, Satwiksairaj star in thrilling final as Hyderabad Hunters win the title

Satwiksairaj, Pia Bernadet win the deciding mixed doubles in straight games to beat Bengaluru Blasters 4-3 in the final

Hyderabad: Local boy Satwiksairaj Rankireddy showed how far he has progressed from the last edition of the Premier Badminton League as he teamed up with the experienced Pia Zebadiah Bernadet to win the deciding mixed doubles match and helped Hyderabad Hunters clinch the title, beating Bengaluru Blasters on Sunday.

With both teams locked at 3-3 after four matches, the pressure was on the hosts as the Blasters combination of N Sikki Reddy and Kim Sa Rang were on a high after winning a similar clash in the semi-finals against Ahmedabad Smash Masters.

However, the towering Satwik with his explosive jump smashes ensured that the opponents had little chance of cornering glory. The 17-year-old, who was the find of the last edition, was relentless in his attacks and was smart enough to shield the tiring Pia in the second game as the pair won the match 15-11, 15-12 to kick start wild celebrations on the team bench.

The champions had blanked the Blasters when the two teams met in the last league encounter at the same venue but no one was expecting a similar whitewash in the final with world champion Viktor Axelsen, who was rested for that game, listed to play the trump for the latter.

But the Hunters were still the favourites with their singles stars Lee Hyun Il and Carolina Marin expected to win their respective matches and it was imperative for the Blasters to make a strong start with men’s doubles.

The experienced combination of Mathias Boe and Kim Sa Rang did not disappoint their fans, who were clearly outnumbered in the Gachibowli Stadium, by beating Hunters’ Markis Kido and Yoo Yeon Seong 15-9, 15-10.

The Blasters sought to change their fortune in the second men’s singles by fielding Shubhakar Dey instead of Chong Wei Feng, who had lost to Saurabh Verma in the semifinals. But that hardly made any difference as the experienced Lee toyed with the Indian journeyman to give the Hunters the lead.

Viktor Axelsen after beating B Sai Praneeth (Credit: PBL)
Viktor Axelsen after beating B Sai Praneeth (Credit: PBL)

Axelsen then once again proved that he has been playing at a completely different level and there are not many who can challenge him at this stage. Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth, who had upset Tian Houwei of Delhi Dashers in the semifinal, was all at sea against the 24-year-old Dane.

He kept the rallies short and when Sai managed to push him into longer battles, he would more often than not find a winner, claiming the match 15-8, 15-10 and give Blasters a 3-2 lead.

If the Blasters hoped that the must-win encounter could put pressure on Hunters’ star Marin, it did not happen. The two-time world champion and Olympic gold medallist was in complete control of the opening game against Kristy Gilmour. The Scottish player did put up a fight in the second game and managed to save a match point but the Spaniard did not give her an opportunity to force a decider by raising the pace of the final rally.

She won the match 15-8, 15-14 and was was soon back to cheer Satwik and Pia. The pair ensured that the Olympic champion had the last laugh along with her teammates.

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It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday

Here are some great destinations for you to consider.

Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:

March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto

For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.

Nothing beats camping to ruminate over all those new ideas collected over the past few days. Make way to Killarney Provincial Park for 2-3 days for some quiet time amongst lakes and hills. You can grab a canoe, go hiking or get back to nature, but don’t forget to bring a tent.

If you use the long-weekend of 2nd March to extend your trip, you get to experience the Toronto Light Festival as a dazzling bonus.

June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago

Famous for creating the deep-dish pizza and improv comedy, Chicago promises to banish that mid-year lull. Get tickets for The Second City’s Legendary Laughs at The UP-Comedy Club - the company that gave us the legendary Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Key & Peele. All that laughter can sure work up an appetite, one that can be satiated with Lou Malnati’s classic deep-dish pizza. For dessert, head over to the Ferrara Original Bakery for mouth-watering treats.

Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.

If you use the long weekend of 15th June, you can extend your trip to go for Country LakeShake – Chicago’s country music festival featuring Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.

August: 7 days in London for Europe’s biggest street festival

Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.

The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.

October: 10 days of an out-of-body experience in Vegas

About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.

It’s time to get on with the vacation planning for the new year. So, pin up the holiday list, look up deals on hotels and flights and start booking. Save money by taking advantage of the British Airways Holiday Sale. With up to 25% off on flight, the offer is available to book until 31st January 2018 for travel up to 31st December in economy and premium economy and up to 31st August for business class. For great fares to great destinations, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.