Carolina Marin came back with a vengeance after losing her first ever game in the tournament to help Hyderabad Hunters storm into the final of the third edition of Premier Badminton League with a 3-0 win over Delhi Dashers at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday.
It was a slow and frustrating start for Carolina Marin. She erred with her smashes, her forehand nudges went wide and Sung Ji was there to lap it all up and take the advantage by pocketing the first game. But Marin was unforgiving on herself, she upped her game, found her rhythm and took the next two games to seal the tie in Hyderabad Hunters favour.
B. Sai Praneeth, who did show glimpses of brilliance by winning the Singapore Super Series title last year, gave Hyderabad Hunters the crucial lead with an emphatic 15-9, 15-8 win over China’s Tian Houwei in Delhi Dashers’ trump match. That cancelled out Delhi’s early lead after Ashwini Ponnappa and Ivanov Vladimir had given their team the first points with a 13-15, 15-10, 15-10 win over Pia Zebadiah Bernadet and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. Ashwini Ponnappa dictated the play and came up with a number of winners to give Delhi a bright start.
B. Sai Praneeth reversed the advantage soon after. Springing up and down the court with quick feet movements, Sai Praneeth gave a telling account of Indian Badminton’s place in the world map by blowing away the challenge of Tian Houwei of China. Houwei was more measured in his movement and lost many a point to Sai Praneeth’s hard smashes to his left corner and not allowing Houwei to target his weak spot, the very same left corner box.