New Delhi: Pune 7 Aces started their home leg with a 4-3 win over two-time runners-up Mumbai Rockets in a riveting tie that went down to the wire at the Premier Badminton League Season 4 on Saturday.
The Pune charge was led by Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov and Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt — each of whom brought home a couple of wins to help the Season 4 debutants get their first ever victory.
Kjaersfeldt and the pair of Ivanov and Chirag Shetty made it a grand start for the home side by winning the women’s singles and men’s doubles rubbers, respectively.
However, Mumbai showed some stunning resilience to fight back through their two men’s singles exponents — Anders Antonsen and Sameer Verma — sending the tie into a deciding fifth match.
With little to separate the two teams, it all depended on who would hold their nerves under pressure. Ivanov and Kjaersfeldt did an admirable job for Pune in the final rubber, beating Mumbai’s highly-experienced mixed doubles pair of Pia Zebadiah and Kim Gi Jung 15-13, 11-15, 15-12.
Earlier, Pune started off the proceedings on a positive note with their trump Line Kjaersfeldt taking the place of Carolina Marin in the women’s singles.
The gulf between the 21st ranked Kjaersfeldt and Mumbai’s 202nd ranked Shreyanshi Pardeshi was evident right from the start.
The rising star from Mumbai failed to pose any threat and caved in 11-15, 7-15 following a series of unforced errors.
If Mumbai Rockets looked up to the legendary Lee Yong Dae to turn around their fortunes, they were in for a disappointment.