Hyderabad: World No. 2 women’s singles player Saina Nehwal suffered a battling defeat to Li Han who has no world ranking in the semifinals of Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the Gachibowli indoor stadium on Friday.
In Awadhe Warriors’ Trump match, Mumbai Rockets’s Li Han from China showed no fear at all against her World No. 2 opponent, when the Chinese took the upper hand to win the first set with 15-8.
On the verge of losing the tie, Saina Nehwal rebounded just in time to force the decider by prevailing 15-13 in the second set.
The Chinese youngster Li Han stayed calm and managed pressure very well in the decider, her deadly accuracy and great speed proved too good for the World No. 2 Indian as Li sealed the winning point for Mumbai Rockets by beating Nehwal 15-7 in the third set.
Mumbai Rockets had a bit of a slow start when their mixed doubles pair of Kamilla Juhl-Vladimir Ivanov was defeated by Awadhe’s Bodin Issara-Christinna 15-12, 13-15 and 14-15 in a pulsating encounter that lasted 43 minutes.
World No. 20 men’s singles player H.S Prannoy of Mumbai Rockets then stepped up his game to come from behind by trouncing Tanongsak S of Awadhe Warriors 12-15, 15-7, 15-9 in the first men’s singles match.
“I had a shaky start, but fortunately I was able to win the match to level the scores for my team,” said Prannoy after his win.
Vladimir Ivanov/Mathias Boe of Mumbai Rockets and Cai Yun/Bodin Issara of Awadhe Warriors were running neck and neck when the Mumbai pair took the first set 15-10 while the Awadhe pair took the second set 15-12 in the men’s doubles match.
The decider saw the pair of Cai and Ivanov took an 8-5 lead before the Rockets pair made a strong comeback winning 5 out of the next 8 points to reduce the gap to 1 and then a few points later equalized the score at 13-13. They then clinched the game in dramatic fashion, winning two straight points to seal the game 15-13.
Mumbai Rockets have sealed an emphatic 3-0 win after their women’s singles victory, thus, both sides have decided to abandon the last match of the tie, which was the second men’s singles and Trump match for Mumbai Rockets.
Mumbai Rockets will face Delhi Acers in the PBL finals that will be held on Sunday.