Pune, Dec 30:
Rituparna Das continued her unbeaten run as North Eastern Warriors registered their second successive win, thrashing Delhi Dashers in the Premier Badminton League Season 4 here Saturday.
After Rituparna’s thunderous start, Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk put up a spectacular display to beat Delhi Dashers’ trump Tommy Sugiarto and put North Eastern Warriors on the path to victory.
Delhi Dashers were in search of their first win in what has been a not so good fourth season of the league for the Season 1 champions.
After a 0-5 drubbing at the hands of the Mumbai Rockets and a 1-4 defeat to the Ahmedabad Smash Masters, all they needed was a good start.
However, World No. 32 Evgeniya Kosetskaya failed to give them that and conceded the women’s singles rubber to Rituparna.
Despite being ranked only 55th, the Haldia-born shuttler never let the gulf in the rankings come in the way.
With team captain Saina Nehwal recovering from a shin injury, she did full justice to the faith that the Warriors had in her.
The former Indian national champion, winner of the Polish International this year, smartly kept manoeuvring her higher-ranked opponent around the court to open up her weaker backhand wing and draw errors consistently.
It made a huge dent in the Russian’s confidence level and the Delhi shuttler succumbed to a 13-15, 9-15 defeat.
Liao Min Chun and former World No. 1 Yoo Yeon Seong had been winless in their previous two matches.
But the Warriors pair chose the right time to open their account against Delhi’s Chai Biao and Wang Sijie.
A lot of poise, patience and heaps of tactical brilliance gifted the men-in-green a 15-9, 15-6 victory that put their team on the path to a win.
It was then left to the Warriors’ former World No. 9 Tanongsak Saensombooksuk to complete the job against Sugiarto.
Considering the latter has a 4-2 winning head-to-head record over the left-handed player from Thailand, it was indeed an uphill task for Tanongsak.
But Tanongsak was relentless with his hard smashes that the veteran Indonesian had no answer to.
Sugiarto looked subdued from the outset and it only became even more difficult for him as the match progressed as he injured his hand during the second game.
Despite spraying a few errors towards the end, the Warriors man managed to regroup in time to register a 15-5, 15-12 win en route to an unassailable 3-(-1) lead for the north-eastern team in the tie. In the second men’s singles, Warriors’ Tian Houwei then defeated Delhi’s H S Prannoy 12-15, 15-7, 15-14 to make the lead 4-(-1) after the fourth match.
Pune 7 Aces
tastes first win
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 here Saturday.
Flaunting pink for the cause of Breast Cancer Awareness, 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 in a thrilling finish to the Maharashtra derby.