Former champions Hyderabad Hunters bounced back from a disappointing loss suffered by world champion PV Sindhu to beat North Eastern Warriors 2-1 as the Premier Badminton League action moved to Hyderabad on Wednesday.
The hosts were staring down the barrel after North Eastern Warriors’ World No. 10 Michelle Li stunned Sindhu in straight games but the men’s doubles combination of Vladimir Ivanov and Ben Lane and Malaysian singles star Daren Liew turned the tables on their opponents with comfortable wins.
Sindhu’s loss coupled with Sourabh Verma losing his trump against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk had meant that the Hunters were trailing 0-2 in the tie when Ivanov and Lane took on Warriors’ Bodin Isara and Lee Yong Dae.
Since the Warriors had placed their trump on the men’s doubles match, Hunters only chance to make a comeback depended on upsetting their opponent’s trump. And Ivanov and Ben Lane did that in style to win 15-7, 15-10 and set up an enthralling finale between Liew and 2020 Indonesia Masters semi-finalist Lee Cheuk Yiu.
World No. 42 Liew had never beaten Lee in four meetings on the BWF circuit but put in a commendable performance on Wednesday to win the match 15-9, 15-10 and hand the tie to the Hunters 2-1.
Earlier, Hyderabad Hunters’s mixed doubles pair of Sikki Reddy and Ivanov delighted the crowd with a gritty 15-12, 8-15, 15-12 win against the Warriors’ Krishna Prasad Garaga and Kim Ha Na to draw first blood for the hosts.
But things went downhill from there on as Tanongsak kept his nerves to win the first men’s singles match 15-14, 15-14.
Sindhu was expected to resort order for the hosts but Li’s plan of keeping Sindhu in the front court worked well. The Canadian did not allow her opponent to use the height advantage to attack to win the match 15-8, 15-9.
(Correction: In the earlier copy, which was published after the loss of Sindhu, it was mistakenly mentioned that North East Warriors has also won the tie. The copy has been updated with latest results and corrections)