Rising star Priyanshu Rajawat stole the show as PV Sindhu put up a masterclass against Shriyanshi Pardeshi to guide Hyderabad Hunters to a gritty 4-3 win over Mumbai Rockets at the GMC Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium here today. With the win, the Hunters climbed one spot above to the sixth position in the league standings.
It hasn’t been a season to remember for the former champions, nevertheless Rajawat and Sindhu’s strong performances gave them lots of reasons to cheer as the 284th ranked Dhar shuttler displayed tons of courage and self-belief to beat World No. 49 Lee Dong Keun 15-13, 15-9.
Trailing 5-8, the 18-year-old showed remarkable speed and
power for a youngster to claw his way back and even lead 11-9. His impressive
footwork and smart placement of the shuttle had Keun in trouble as Rajawat kept
targeting his backhand. With the crowd roaring, the youngster surged to 14-11
before wrapping up the opener.
By alternating powerful smashes with delicate drops at the
net, the young gun rolled to 8-5 and kept his cool to maintain the lead and
reach 11-8. Buoyed by the cheers of support, he finished the big win and
fistpumped to celebrate it in front of a delighted home crowd.
Earlier, the reigning world champion Sindhu brought on her
A-game to defeat her younger compatriot, Shriyanshi Pardeshi 15-5, 15-10.
Sindhu had come to this match on a two-match losing streak, having suffered a
reversal of fortunes at the hands of Michelle Li and Tai Tzu Ying. This time
the Hunters Trump made no mistake in a clinical display against the youngster.
The first game was a completely one-way traffic as Pardeshi
found it difficult to counter the pace and power of the Hunters ace. In the
second game, however, the Mumbai player was able to give a better account of
herself. By speeding up the shuttle, she was able to put an end to Sindhu’s
domination. As Sindhu fumbled at the net, Pardeshi was just two points away
from the World No. 6 at 9-11 before the Hyderabad shuttler stopped her momentum
and wrapped up the match.
Earlier, 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap
won his first match of the season after tasting a defeat in four consecutive
ties. The Mumbai ace has a 3-2 head-to-head record against World No. 42 Daren
Liew on the BWF World Tour and he brought all that conviction against Malaysian
whom he last beat at the Korea Open in November. Showing all his rhythm and
range, the Mumbai Trump was able to register a quickfire 15-8, 15-13 win.
In men’s doubles, Kim Sa Rang and Kim Gi Jung of Mumbai
easily beat Hyderabad’s Ben Lane and Vladimir Ivanov 15-10, 15-8.
With the two teams sharing the first four matches, it was
all down to the mixed doubles rubber where Sikki Reddy and Vladimir Ivanov
teamed up for the hosts against Kim Sa Rang and Pia Zebadiah of Mumbai. Raining
their smashes, the home pair grabbed a 15-8, 15-8 win to seal the tie for