Premier Badminton League: Sindhu beats Saina as Chennai Smashers defeat Awadhe Warriors to reach final

Saina Nehwal Awadhe WarriorsIt was touted as the match of the tournament. Former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal was to take on Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu in the Premier Badminton League and the stadium was abuzz with talks of the Saina-Sindhu game long before it transpired. The organisers too tried to milk the tie to their best, says a report in The Indian Express, adding that the game was promoted with war-like vigour.

“Will be one hell of a match,” the graphic work tweeted by the official handle, read. Almost everyone had an expert opinion on how the game would pan out. But the beauty of sports is in its unpredictability factor. But that aspect did not come to fore on Tuesday. World No 6 Sindhu wrapped up her tie 11-7,11-8 in just 27-minutes against her high-profile opponent.

The match was witnessed by a decent Delhi crowd at the Siri Fort Stadium who had to brave the winter chill and go through a snail-paced traffic to make it to the south Delhi-stadium. It was hard to gauge who had stronger crowd support. But one thing was certain, they had turned up primarily for the Sindhu-Saina game. The crowd started thinning as soon as their last point was played.

“Yeah, it (hype) was always there. From the very first day they have been talking about the game. First it was me and Carolina, and then it was me and Sung, and then Saina did not play in the league match. And finally it happened,” Sindhu said.

According to a report in The Hindu, more than the outcome of the ‘war’ between Chennai Smashers and Awadhe Warriors for a place in the final of the Premier Badminton League (PBL), it was the ‘battle’ involving P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal that held everyone’s interest at the Siri Fort Stadium and on television screens.

“In just 27 minutes, Sindhu justified the expectations based on form and fitness. Even before the first shuttle was stroked, Sindhu showed the confidence by opting to play Trump against her more illustrious rival. No doubt, it was a grudge match, and Sindhu handled the pressure better to come out stronger,” says the report, adding that for the record, Chennai won 4-1 and will take on Mumbai Rockets in the final.

“Rockets caused a sensation, taking an unsurpassable 3 to minus 1 lead after winning the two Trump contests. Sung Ji Hyun upstaged World and Olympic champion Carolina Marin, while H.S. Prannoy maintained his winning run beating Sameer Verma 11-8, 15-13 to seal the tie,” said the report.
A report in The Tribune says Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu produced a disciplined performance to outwit Saina Nehwal in straight games in the much-anticipated encounter as Chennai Smashers entered the final of the Premier Badminton League with a 4-1 win over Awadhe Warriors here today. In the other semifinal, Mumbai Rockets beat Hyderabad Hunters.

Sindhu, who had never defeated London Olympics bronze winner Saina in a tournament, finally exorcised the ghosts of her losses with an 11-7 11-8 victory in a crucial women’s singles clash, which was Chennai’s trump match.