PBL 3: Praneeth, Marin keep Hunters ahead

Maricruz Casares
Enero 13, 2018

Hyderabad Hunters warmed up for the semifinal with a convincing 6-(-1) win over Bengaluru Blasters in the Premier Badminton League at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Thursday night. Bengaluru slipped to the fourth spot with 14 points.

With the battle for the title commencing on Friday, Hyderabad have emerged as strong contenders for the league honours. They will clash with Delhi Dashers in the first semi-final while Bengaluru face Ahmedabad Smash Masters in the second semi-final on Saturday.

It was no easy going for Hyderabad as their mixed doubles pair and men's singles star B Sai Praneeth were stretched to three games before winning their respective matches. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Pia Zebadiah Bernadet sarted off well against the Bengaluru duo of Manu Attiri and Sikki Reddy by winning the first game 15-6.

Hunters' World No. 16 B. Sai Praneeth downed a fighting Chong Wei Feng to give the crowd favourite a 2-0 lead.

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In the decider, the left-handed Malaysian was down for the count at 12-14 but he pulled level to take the game into the tie-breaker.

Then, Olympic champion Carolina Marin virtually dished out a masterclass to down World No. 16 Kirsty Gilmour in the women's singles to give Hunters a 3-0 lead. Serving for the match, the World No 45 smacked a Praneeth return into the net to end his gallant fightback. Bengaluru's Subhanker Dey nearly threw up a scare in Hyderabad's Trump match.

The opening game went to Hyun Il 15-11 giving hyderabad all the reasons to rejoice but Subhankar wouldn't let of another opportunity to cause an upset as he got back by winning the second game 15-11.

In an inconsequential match which also saw Blasters rest World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen as both the teams have already made it to the last-four stage, Hunters perhaps were hungrier to keep the record straight even before the two Trump matches were played.

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