It was a tough injury return for North Eastern Warriors captain Saina Nehwal who was defeated by PV Sindhu 11-15, 15-9, 15-5. The reception by the crowd for the Olympic bronze medalist was excellent at the Balewadi Stadium. However, that couldn’t help the 30-year-old to help the team with a win, as Warriors slipped to a 5-0 defeat against Hyderabad.
It was Hyderabad’s men’s singles specialists Lee Hyun Il and Mark Caljouw who produced some sublime performances to make a noteworthy comeback after Kim Ha Na and Lao Min Chun had won the first match for the Warriors.
Both of them snatched the trump match points by outclassing Tian Houwei and T.Saensomboonsuk to put the Tie out of their opponent’s reach. In the men’s doubles round, Kim Sa Rang and Bodin Isara put in another win for the Hunters. They have now gone three points clear at the top of the PBL table.
— HyderabadHunters (@Hyd_Hunters) January 1, 2019
On her first appearance in PBL this season the stage was set for Saina in an interesting showdown against world number 3 Sindhu in what was to be a contest between experience and form. Saina looked to have shedded the rust quickly as she won the first game that was followed by a seamless switch between defence and offence.
Sindhu, who is known for her tenacity, regained her form in the second game. She seemed focussed on tiring out her opponent. The 23-year-old resorted to clever use of angles and half-smashes to increased the pressure until the second game was won.
Although Saina seemed to have regained her momentum in the decider, she had to play the catch-up game with Sindhu coming up with ruthless hitting across the net. Penultimately, it was the latter who cruised to a clear victory. Hunters led 3-1 at this stage before Mark
Caljouw bagged the fourth Tie to help Hyderabad win the Tie and increase their lead in the process.
Hyderabad Hunters 5-0 North Eastern Warriors
Kim Sa Rang -Eom Hye Won vs Kim Ha Na – Lao Min Chun | 8-15, 14-15
Lee Hyun Il-(Trump Match) vs Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk | 10-15, 15-13, 15-9
P.V. Sindhu vs Saina Nehwal | 11-15, 15-9, 15-5
Mark Caljouw vs Tian Huawei-(Trump Match) | 15-11, 15-14
Bodin Isara – Kim Sa Rang vs Liau Min Chun – Yoo Yeon Song | 15-10, 12-15, 15-14.