Mumbai, Dec. 24:
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy justified his tag as the highest paid Indian non-icon player in the fourth season of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League as he along with Lee Chun Hei Reginald upset North Eastern Warriors game plan by upsetting their trump in the first match of the tie.
Satwik, who was bought by Ahmedabad Smash Masters for Rs 52 lakh, and Lee struggled to find rhythm at the start as the experienced combination of Liao Min Chun and Yoo Yeon Seong controlled the proceedings.
But Satwik and partner came back strong in the second, taking a 8-4, 13-9 lead before Seong and Liao took five straight points to earn a match point. But Liao made an error on the net to take the game into ‘decisive point’ and then made a judgement of errors on the sideline to allow the match to go into the decider.
In the ensuing decider, Satwik turned on the heat with his booming smashes to take the game rather easily and register a 10-15, 15-14, 15-14 as Ahmedabad Smash Masters opened up a 1-(-1) lead.
Former world champion Viktor Axelsen then gave the Ahmedabad team an unassailable lead of 3-(-1) when he defeated Tanongsak Sansomboonsuk 15-11, 15-14 in which he was the trump.
Results: Ahmedabad Smash Masters vs North Eastern Warriors
MD-Lee Chun Hei Reginald / Satwiksairaj Rankireddy bt Liao Min Chun/Yoo Yeon Seong (T): 10-15, 15-14, 15-14
MS-Viktor Axelsen (T) bt Tanongsak Sansomboonsuk- 15-11, 15-14
Sameer Verma, the BWF World Tour semi-finalist, continued with his impressive form as he upset Delhi Dashers star player HS Prannoy to lead Mumbai Rockets to a convincing win in their opening match of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League on the home turf at the NSCI Dome on Sunday.
Shreyanshi Pardeshi then turned Delhi Dashers trump on its head by upsetting Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia 12-15, 15-8, 15-10 to give the hosts a 5-0 win.
It was a scintillating performance from the diminutive youngster against an opponent who is ranked 169 places above her in the world ranking.
In the opening game, Shreyanshi struggled to tackle the height advantage of her Russian opponent and was mostly chasing the shuttle in rallies. But after losing the opening game, the world number 201 changed tactics by hitting her tosses slightly higher and then going to quick crosscourt drops.
The stronger defense also helped Shreyanshi’s cause as she virtually raced through the next two games to not just give her team a valuable point but also bring Delhi Dashers tally down to zero.
Earlier, with Mumbai already taking a 3-0 lead with Lee Yong Dae and Kim Gi Sung winning their trump match and Anders Antonsen excelling on debut, Verma knew that he could wrap up the tie with two rubbers still to play.
However, it was Prannoy who got off the blocks first as he opened up a 4-0 lead. Verma then concentrated on prolonging the rallies, something he thrives on, and managed to take the opening game 15-14. The second game then turned out to be a one-sided affair as he clinched the second game rather easily to win 15-14, 15-9 and give his team a 4-0 lead.
But such a strong start looked difficult when the hosts had a fright in their opening trump match when Yong Dae and Kim lost the opening game. As losing a trump can cost an additional point to the team, it was important for the Korean pair to turn things around and they did that in style to win the next two games and the match 14-15, 15-12, 15-9.
Antonsen was equally dominant against Indonesia’s Sugiarto as he clinched a point for his team with a 15-13, 15-7 win.
Results: Mumbai Rockets bt Delhi Dashers (5-0)
(MD):Lee Yong Dae/Kim Gi Jung bt Chai Biao/Wang Sijie (T)-14-15;15-12;15-9
(MS):Anders Antonsen bt Tommy Sugiarto- 15-13;15-7
(MS): Sameer Verma vs HS Prannoy-15-14; 15-9
(XD): Lee Yong Dae/Pia Zebadiah bt Lee Chia Hsin/Maneepong Jongjit-15-11;15-12
(WS):Shriyanshi Pardeshi bt Evgenya Koserskaya (T)-12-15;15-8;15-10