Pune 7 Aces continued their fine form in the Premier Badminton League with a 5-2 win over Chennai Superstarz as they went second on the table with 14 points from 15 ties on Thursday.
Grabbing their opportunity early, the star English mixed doubles pair of Chris Adcock and Gabby Adcock gave Pune a strong start with a comprehensive 15-10, 15-12 victory over Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Jessica Pugh to take a 1-0 lead in the tie.
But Chennai Superstarz had gotten their trump card selection right on target in the second match of the tie where Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour took on Pune 7 Aces’ Rituparna Das.
Ranked 30th in the world, the Scottish shuttler was a favourite against world no. 100 Rituparna Das and Gilmour won it 15-12, 15-6 in straight games to see Chennai lead 2-1 in the tie.
Lakshya Sen stunned by Loh Kean Yew
Premier Badminton League is a huge platform for 18-year-old Indian badminton prodigy Lakshya Sen, who is steadily breaking into the top circuit. Thursday saw him pitted against Pune’s Loh Kean Yew.
The first game saw world no. 32 Lakshya Sen coming close to Yew before losing 13-15, but the Indian soon came back to level proceedings by winning the second game 15-10.
The Singapore world no. 37 shuttler, however, won the decider 15-8 to win the match to level the tie 2-2.
Rankireddy faces Shetty in much-awaited clash
India’s top badminton doubles pair, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were pitted against each other on the court on Thursday.
While Chirag Shetty paired with world doubles no. 2 Hendra Setiawan for Pune 7 Aces, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy partnered compatriot B Sumeeth Reddy for Chennai Superstarz.
Pinning the trump card on Shetty and Setiawan was a gamble given the outcome wasn’t expected to be straightforward. The match ended 15-12, 15-14 in Pune’s favour but the intensity shown by both pairs kept the audience at the edge of their seats till the last point.
The final match of the tie was inconsequential in terms of the tie as Pune 7 Aces were already leading 4-2. And with the tie a lost cause, Chennai Superstarz sent Sathish Kumar Karunakaran to consolidate points on the league table but the 18-year-old was beaten 10-15, 12-15 in straight games by Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai.
Premier Badminton League points table
After the first tie on Thursday, Pune 7 Aces has moved up one place to second on the Premier Badminton League points table, leapfrogging Awadhe Warriors, with Chennai Superstarz still leading with 15 points.