Hyderabad, Dec 29:
World No. 10 Beiwen Zhang stunned Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu in the women’s singles as Awadhe Warriors took an unassailable 4-0 lead over Hyderabad Hunters in a Premier Badminton League (PBL) match here Friday.
In a high-profile encounter between the two top 10 women’s singles players, Sindhu squandered a 9-6 lead to concede the first game to Zhang 13-15.
The World Tour Finals champion has had mixed fortunes so far in Season 4, beating Carolina Marin in her first match but losing to Sung Ji Hyun in her second encounter.
The World No. 3 made a strong 6-3 start. The Indian looked in control of the proceedings until the 10th ranked Zhang’s persistence paid off.
Zhang, who has beaten Sindhu twice this year, drew level at 12-12 and then sneaked past her opponent to snatch the opener. Sindhu could never recover from that setback. Looking highly subdued for the most part of the second game, she let the calm Zhang play a steady game as Sindhu’’s errors kept piling on.
Earlier in the day, former CWG gold medallist Ashwini Ponnappa’s exquisite serving and unwavering focus helped her and Mathias Christiansen beat the Hyderabad’s Trump pair of Eom Hye Won and Kim Sa Rang 15-12, 9-15, 15-11.
World No. 35 Mark Caljouw, the first Dutch badminton player in the league, was the only saving grace of the day for the Hunters as he put up a show of stern determination to beat the Warriors’ 27th ranked Lee Dong Keun 15-10, 7-15.
However, after Sindhu lost the crucial third match, San Wan Ho defeated Lee Hyun 15-10 15-11 in Awadhe’s Trump match to make it 4-0 in their favour with still the men’s doubles match to go.