World No 10 Beiwen Zhang stunned Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu in straight games as Awadhe Warriors beat Hyderabad Hunters 4-1 in the Premier Badminton League on Friday.
In a high-profile encounter between the two top-10 women’s singles players, Sindhu squandered a 9-6 lead to concede the match to Zhang 13-15, 8-15 in Hyderabad.
The BWF World Tour Finals champion has had mixed fortunes so far in season 4, beating Carolina Marin in her first match but losing to Sung Ji Hyun in her second encounter.
The world No 3 made a strong 6-3 start and looked in control of the proceedings until Zhang’s persistence paid off.
Zhang, who has beaten Sindhu twice this year, drew level at 12-12 and then sneaked past her opponent to snatch the opener.
Sindhu could never recover from that setback. Looking highly subdued for the most part of the second game, she let the calm Zhang play a steady game as her errors kept piling on.
Earlier in the day, Ashwini Ponnappa’s exquisite serving and unwavering focus helped her and Mathias Christiansen beat the Hyderabad’s trump pair of Eom Hye Won and Kim Sa Rang 15-12, 9-15, 15-11.
World No 35 Mark Caljouw, the first Dutch badminton player in the league, gave the Hunters hope as he put up a show of stern determination to beat the Warriors’ 27th-ranked Lee Dong Keun 15-10, 7-15.
However, after Sindhu lost the crucial third match, San Wan Ho defeated Lee Hyun 15-10 15-11 in Awadhe’s trump match to make it 4-0 in their favour with only the men’s doubles match still to go.
Bodin Isara and Kim Sa Rang got another point for the Hunters in the final match of the tie as they beat Christiansen and Yang Lee 15-9, 15-13, but it was too little too late for the home team.
With inputs from Scroll Staff
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