The Premier Badminton League kicked off its fifth season amid much fanfare at Chennai and the home crowd was given a lot of reasons to cheer as the Chennai Superstarz defeated the PV Sindhu-led Hyderabad Hunters 5-2.
The mixed doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Jessica Pugh of England started off the winning streak beating the Russian-Indo pair of Vladimir Ivanov and N. Sikki Reddy 15-6, 13-15, 15-13.
World no. 22 Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto gave them a two-point lead soon after with a simple 15-11, 15-10 victory over Sourabh Verma.
Lakshya Sen wins nail-biting trump match
Promising Indian youngster, Lakshya Sen had to dig deep to give Chennai Superstarz the crucial two points in their trump match as he got the better of debutant Priyanshu Rajawat, 15-6, 13-15, 15-14.
Lakshya Sen dominated the opening game as he gave the run-around to Priyanshu Rajawat and the latter had no answers, losing it in quick time. However, he learned from his mistakes and came roaring back in the second game.
Rajawat, a year younger than 18-year-old Sen, was relentless with his attacking shots, mixing drop shots and smashes in equal measure to ensure he stayed ahead in the game. He also forced Sen into a lot of mistakes, who conceded the game with an error.
Sen composed himself in the third game, taking it slow and went into the break with an 8-6 lead. He conceded it quickly though, going to a 10-12 deficit at one point but got it back to 13-13, which became 14-14. Lakshya Sen finished it off with a smash to win the decider point to give Chennai Superstarz an unassailable 4-0 lead.
PV Sindhu wins Hyderabad’s first points
Rio 2016 silver-medallist, PV Sindhu, won her tie against 16-year-old Gayatri Gopichand 15-5, 15-5 to give Hyderabad Hunters their first points of the fixture.
PV Sindhu, unsurprisingly Hyderabad’s pick for their trump match, was on top right from the word go as she forced her opponent into multiple errors and raced to an 8-0 lead in the first game.
Gayatri Gopichand’s first point came when PV Sindhu smashed the shuttlecock into the net but there was not too much more of that as the latter closed out the game soon. The second game was also a breeze for the world no. 6, the win giving Hyderabad Hunters two points.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy teamed up with compatriot B Sumeeth Reddy for his second game of the day and the Chennai Superstarz duo dug deep to win against Hyderabad Hunters’ English pair of Ben Lane and PBL debutant Sean Vendy, 15-14, 11-15, 15-8.
The Indian duo won the first game after trailing for large parts of it but could not repeat it in the second. The deciding game was once again a close affair but Rankireddy-Sumeeth Reddy ran away with it after the break to ensure a commanding opening day win for the home side.