Pune 7 Aces suffered their second straight defeat in the Premier Badminton League season IV with Awadhe Warriors edging 3-4 at the National Sports Club of India, Mumbai on Monday.
Son Wan Ho, World No. 5, and men’s doubles pair Yang Lee and Mathias Christiansen won their first two matches of the tie for the Warriors respectively. However, Olympic gold-medalist Carolina Marin and Lakshya Sen brought Pune 7 Aces back into the contest.
However, Ashwini Ponnappa and Christiansen then went on to win the decider, a tight mixed doubles match, to seal the crucial tie for the Warriors.
In the first match of the tie, 7 Aces’ Brice Leverdez had a spectacular opportunity to put
Son Wan Ho under pressure with the Frenchman beginning well. However, he held his nerves and the game point at 14-13 as well to clinch the first game with it. There were two deadly errors from the 32-year-old that handed Son the advantage in the match, as he won the first game 15-14.
That first game seemed to sap Leverdez as he seemed switched off in the following game, exaggerated by the fact that Son had got into a rhythm of his own. The Korean was never going to waste time in pocketing the game at 15-7 to win the first match of the tie for his
team. The Awadhe Warriors had rightfully picked this exact clash as their trump match, meaning Son also earned an extra point for his team.
Up next was the men’s doubles as Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov of Pune 7 Aces took on Awadhe Warriors’ Yang Lee and Mathias Christiansen.
Boe and Ivanov started off on a strong note, taking a 6-2 lead initially. Howbeit, Yang, and Christiansen fought their way back to level the scores at 8-8 before racing ahead.
Boe and Ivanov were caught unawares and thus seemed to lose their rhythm and committed numerous errors. Awadhe Warriors managed to win the first game by 15-12. The Warriors then carried the momentum further into the second game, opening up to a substantial lead of 12-6 in the second game. A match that seemed out of reach for Pune suddenly became interesting when two uncharacteristic errors from Awadhe narrowed the gap to 4 points. Pune sniffed a comeback at that point.
Ivanov and Boe upped their ante to eventually level the scores at 13-13. It went on to become 14-14 from there. However, before Pune could conclude their stunning comeback, Yang delivered a good return of service to win Warriors the match and a 3-0 lead in the tie.
Although Marin first and Lakshya thereafter managed to bring Pune back in the competition with individual tie wins, it seemed that PBL’s newest team was doomed for another tie defeat.
This unfortunate incident took place in the mixed doubles, which had now become the decider of the interesting contest. It was the pair of captain Ashwini Ponnappa and Mathias Christiansen who got the Awadhe Warriors off to a steady start, with the team comfortably winning the first game by 15-8 against Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt and Ivanov of Pune. The second tie did become a bit competitive, but it ended at 15-11 only. It also handing Awadhe Warriors their first tie points of the tournament…