Mumbai Rockets defeated the PV Sindhu-led Hyderabad Hunters 4-2 in an once sided affair at the Sri Kanteerava Stadium on Friday. By virtue of this win, Mumbai reached the final of the Premier Badminton League.
The South Korean pair of Kim Gi Jung and Lee Yong Dae put the Rockets ahead with a straight-games win over Hunters. Both games, however, were close.
The first one, Gi Jung and Yong Dae won with the latter’s smash, after locked at 14-14. The second, Isara and Sa Rang led 11-9 before Gi Jung’s superb defence – he returned two of Isara’s fierce smashes from behind his back – saw his team go up 12-11.
Gi Jung and Yong Dae then hit a smash winner apiece to go 14-11. Isara saved a match point but erred in the next point to lose the match.
Sameer Verma then won the Rockets’ trump match with ease against Mark Caljouw 15-8, 15-7. The latter made errors at the start, most of them whilst attempting drops, to concede a 2-8 lead.
That made Caljouw cautious of the drop shot and he refrained using that in the second game. Sameer capitalised on this to win the game 15-8.
There were more exchanges at the net in the second game and Sameer won most of them. With a backhand crosscourt drop, he clinched the game 15-7 and his sixth win in the league.
Hyderabad captain Sindhu their hopes alive with a 15-6, 15-5 trouncing of a hapless Shreyanshi Pardeshi in their trump match. The latter, significantly shorter and slower than Sindhu, found it difficult to contend with her opponent, ranked 199 places higher.
Shreyanshi troubled Sindhu at the net occasionally in the first game and hence trailed by just a point – 7-8 – at first-game break.
But Sindhu’s jump-smashes, then, troubled her. Even if Shreyanshi returned them somehow, Sindhu easily ended the rally from the net with a drop or smash.
In the second game, Sindhu won seven straight points to dampen Shreyanshi’s hopes. The latter benefitted from a few errors of Sindhu but ultimately lost the game 5-15.
World No 18 Anders Antonsen then beat South Korea’s Lee Hyun, world No 33, 15-13, 15-6 to seal the tie for the Rockets.
MUMBAI ROCKETS BEAT HYDERABAD HUNTERS 4-2
Kim Gi Jung and Lee Yong Dae beat 15-14, 15-12 Booin Isara and Kim Sa Rang
Sameer Verma (trump) beat 15-8, 15-7 Mark Caljouw
Shreyanshi Pardeshi lost 6-15, 5-15 to PV Sindhu (trump)
Anders Antonsen beat 15-13, 15-6 Lee Hyun