Hyderabad Hunters made it to the final of the third edition of the Premier Badminton League with a 3-0 win over Delhi Dashers on Friday.
Carolina Marin rallied to beat Sung Ji Hyun in her trump match to clinch the tie for Hyderabad. It was the first time the Spaniard had dropped a game. When asked how she approached the match after losing the first game, Marin said: “I did what I had to do. In the first game, I was in the fast side and I couldn’t control my shots much. I did so many mistakes. The second game, I was in the slow side and I could control much better. That gave me some confidence that I could win the game. So I just kept going and kept trying until I won.”
Sai Praneeth, who defeated Delhi’s trump card Tian Houwei to set up the tie for Hyderabad, said he was happy with the way he played. “It was a pressure match for me because we had lost the first match (Mixed doubles). Once I started playing, I felt really confident and I just continued that way throughout the match. I played really good and I am happy for that,” he said.
Tian Houwei had defeated Sai Praneeth in the league game in Delhi. “The conditions are different compared to Delhi. It’s also windy here. I was confident because it was windy as Tian keeps playing long rallies. But in these conditions, it is difficult to do so. I think he was also under pressure because he was playing the trump match. I thought I played better and I was more confident,” he said.
In the same vein, Sai Praneeth admitted to confidence having a big role to play in how he plays. “I play the five-six points to assess the opponents and see how they play. If I play well I get the confidence, If I lose few points, I feel a bit down and again I have to get into the game. How well I play depends on how well I start the game,” Praneeth said.
Marin also had words of praise for her team-mate. “He was very confident. He has to keep that going because in the final he will play against Viktor (Axelsen) or Prannoy. Both of them are difficult opponents but he has been doing really well. I am very impressed with how Sai is coming up during the matches,” she said.
When asked which team the Hunters would prefer facing in the final, Carolina Marin decided to go fully filmy. “We are waiting,” she smiled unabashedly and gave an assured nod looking at her team-mates Satwiksai Ranikreddy and B. Sai Praneeth. Opponents didn’t matter. Sai Praneeth was in good form, she was yet to be defeated. She had confidence in the team. It was evident in her smile.
Bengaluru Blasters will take on Ahmedabad Smash Masters in the second semifinal on Saturday.