Mumbai Rockets beat Saina-less Awadh Warriors in PBL opener

Mumbai, Jan 3: Hosts Mumbai Rockets kick-started their Premier Badminton League (PBL) campaign on a winning note by beating Awadhe Warriors on the opening day here on Saturday.

Mumbai beat Awadhe 2-1 at the National Sports Club Of India (NSCI) here, despite losing their 'Trump Match'.

Mumbai Rockets beat Awadhe Warriors

Trump Match - the new rule introduced for the first time to make the tournament exciting for both players and fans alike- did not go well for either side in the tie. Both sides lost their Trump Matches.

The tie began with men's singles match where Mumbai's Gurusai Dutt defeated Sai Praneeth 14-15, 15-10, 15-8.

Despite one set down, Dutt came up with a dominating show in the second and final set to win the match comfortably.

"It was a tough match as he won the first set. But I knew I had to come back and win the game for my team. This win will help us in the next four games. I am happy I came up to the expectations of my team. It's a proud moment as the first game of PBL is in our kitty," Dutt said after the match.

Next was the men's doubles match, which was a Trump Match for the visitors. The Awadhe Warriors failed to capitalise on the crucial match.

Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov defeated Cai Yun and Hendra Gunawan 15-11, 15-11 in straight sets. With the loss, Awadhe lost (-1) points.

With two consecutive wins, Mumbai took a healthy 2-0 lead in the tie.

Things turned even better for Mumbai as they won the third match - women's singles - also when Ruthvika Gadde defeated G. Vrushali 15-13, 15-10, making it 3-0 for the hosts.

A young Ruthvika made the best use of her smashes and the errors made by Vrushali to win the match with ease.

"It was not an easy match. Though I won it convincingly, she gave a tough fight and made me earn my points. I enjoyed the game. I am happy we won all three games. I hope we end the day by winning all games," Ruthivika said after the match.

Trailing 0-3 in the tie, Awadhe had no option but to come up hard against their opponent in the next men's singles match, which was a Trump Match for the hosts.

In the crucial match for the visitors, world number 33 Tanongsak S. stunned world number 20 H.S. Prannoy 15-12, 14-15, 15-14 in a nailbiting clash.

Losing the first game, Prannoy clawed back in the second. But Tanongsak was too skilled and give Awadhe their first win of the night. With the loss, Mumbai lost (-1) points to be 2-0 in the tie.

"I still can't believe I won the match. I could have finished the match in the second game but he came back strongly. The same story repeated in the third set when we were yet again tied at 14-14 but I was lucky to have got the winning point. This win is special because it was their trump game and they lost. I am happy I opened my team's winning account," Tanongsak said after the match.

In the last match of the tie, Awadhe's Bodin Issara and Christinna Pedersen defeated Mumbai's Kamilla Juhl and Vladimir Ivanov 15-9, 14-15, 15-14 in the mixed doubles match to bag their first point of the night.

Despite the loss, Mumbai won the tie 2-1.

Mumbai next face Chennai Smashers on Sunday while Awadhe will take on Delhi Acers on Monday.


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