P V Sindhu beats Saina to inspire Chennai Smashers to PBL final
New Delhi, Jan 14: Rio Olympics silver medallist P.V. Sindhu inspired the Chennai Smashers to beat Awadhe Warriors 4-1 in the first semi-final and storm into the finals of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium here on Friday.
Chennai will now take on the winner of the second semi-final between Hyderabad Hunters and Mumbai Rockets, which will take place later in the night.
As expected the marquee Trump match for Chennai between the two poster girls of Indian badminton — Saina Nehwal and Sindhu — turned out to be a pulsating contest with the Rio Olympics silver medallist clinching it 11-7, 11-8.
World No.9 Saina started off well to edge past Sindhu 6-5 in the break before the 21-year-old World No.10 bounced back in style to take four consecutive points and clinch the first game 11-7.
The second game witnessed Sindhu quickly taking a 6-3 lead in the break before a resilient Saina used all her experience to inch closer and make it 8-9 but the lanky Sindhu held her nerve to clinch two crucial points as Chennai took back the lead 3-2.
Earlier, Awadhe Warriors grabbed the lead in the first game of the evening, as World No. 10 Thailand duo of Bodin Isara and Savitree Amitrapai came back from a game down to defeat England’s Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock 9-11, 11-8, 11-5.
The first game witnessed fast-paced rallies from either side as the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist English pair came from behind to win it.
Bodin and Savitree bounced back well in the second game to take a 6-2 lead in no time and consolidated their position to reach 10-6 when Chris hit the net.
A couple of errors at the net by Bodin and Savitree helped Warriors save two points but Chris misjudged the length and sent the shuttle long as Chennai roared back to contest.
The third game was no different as the Thia duo extended their lead to 5-2 before exerting more pressure on the English husband-wife combo to convincingly pocket it 11-5.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap then opened the account for Chennai Smashers with a dominating display over Hong Kong’s World No. 18 Wong Ki Vincent in the first men’s singles tie.
World No. 62 Kashyap capitalised on the many unforced errors from Vincent as he took the opening game 11-4 before using all his experience to pocket the second game 11-6.
World No. 13 Kidambi Srikanth then handed back the lead to the Warriors with a hard-fought 14-12, 11-7 win over Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.
Both Srikanth and Sugiarto matched each other shot for shot before the South Asian Games gold medallist prevailed in the extended points to take the first game.
In the second game, the Guntur-born shuttler did not let any scoring opportunities go and took full advantage of the many unforced errors from the Indonesian to clinch the tie.
With Chennai leading 3-2, the first semi-final went down to the wire with the men’s double match, the Trump match for the Warriors turning out to be the decider.
The Chennai duo of Chris Adcock and Mads Pieler Kolding wasted no time in thrashing the Warriors’ pair of V. Shem Goh and Markis Kido 11-3 in the first game before the Warriors hunted back to take a 6-5 lead in the break of the second game.
The Chennai duo, however, kept their calm and clawed back to win the contest 12-10 as the Warriors’ pair failed to capitalise on their lead early in the game.