Hyderabad: They came, they smashed and they conquered. P.V. Sindhu found unlikely support from the local crowd as she led a very determined Chennai Smashers side to a 4-3 victory against hosts Hyderabad Hunters in their Premier Badminton League clash at the GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium at Gachibowli here on Sunday.
After winning the opening mixed doubles match, Chennai suffered a setback in the first men’s singles before storming back into the lead in the third match of the evening. Sindhu then defeated the Hunters’ Supanida Katethong 15-8, 14-15, 15-5 in her Trump match to seal the deal for the Smashers.
The final clash — Hyderabad’s Trump match against Chennai’s men’s doubles pairing of Chris Adcock and Pranaav Jerry Chopra — played itself out like the formality it was with the home side, Carsten Mogensen and Markis Kido, winning 15-12, 15-13.
Earlier, Hyderabad’s Lee Chong Wei defeated Sony Dwi Kuncoro 15-3, 12-15, 15-8 but the local crowd-pullers Jwala Gutta and Parupalli Kashyap disappointed for the Hunters.
Jwala and Mogensen opened with a defeat when they lost to Chennai’s Chris Adcock and Pia Zebadiah 15-7, 15-7 in the mixed doubles match. Lee repaired things with his win, and Hyderabad were in a good position to forge a lead. But through folly and foible, Kashyap surrendered to Simon Santoso 12-15, 12-15 and let Chennai run away with the tie.
In a bid to make it up to the crowd after the opening mixed doubles disappointment, Lee won a curiously one-sided match against Kuncoro. There were phases in the match when one player would completely dominate the proceedings while his opponent would be little more than a glorified spectator.
Lee started the match in masterful fashion. Mixing booming smashes with cunning feints, Lee strung together a streak of nine straight points before taking the opening game 15-3. And the second game was headed the same way when Kuncoro decided he was having none of it.
With the scoreline poised at 12-4 in the second game, Kuncoro constructed an epic comeback, winning 11 straight points to seal an unbelievable game and in the process, drew level.
Lee rediscovered his mojo in the decider. Despite the best efforts of a visibly more confident Kuncoro, Lee played skilfully enough to control the ebb and flow of the game, and pocketed it 15-8....