In the first game of the Premier Badminton League (PBL), PV Sindhu of Chennai Smashers and Carolina Marin of Hyderabad Hunters locked horns against each other. It was a rematch for the great rivalry that reached its peak in the Olympics final.
PV Sindhu won the toss and chose the side while Marin decided to serve first. Brilliant cross court movement from the Spaniard earned her the first point, but the local girl took no time to come back with a magnificent shot. Sindhu soon took a two point lead, but the Olympic gold medalist used her temperament and skills to put pressure on her opponent. The first part of the first set ended in 6-4 in favour of Marin.
Sindhu started the second part in fashion. At first, a powerful smash and then a mistake from Marin drew the match level at 6-6. The experienced Spanish girl then broke Sindhu’s service and soon were up three points. It was difficult for the Indian to make a comeback after that. She tried her best, but Carolina won the first set 11-8.
The home team player got off to a flying start in the second set, winning all of the first three points. A number of unforced errors from PV Sindhu made life easier for her, and she maintained the three point lead for some time. However, steel strong nerve from the Chennai Smasher girl got the better of Marin soon after. Sindhu went to the break leading, with a scoreline of 6-5 in her favour.
The 21 year old Indian made a brilliant judgement on the first point after the break. She left a Marin shot and it was called out. The opponent challenged, but it was a right decision from the umpire. However, Sindhu could not hold on to the lead. Two unforced errors from her gave the advantage back to Marin.
The game was then up for grabs for Hyderabad Hunters. Carolina took a powerful smash to reach the game point, but Sindhu was not yet done. An extraordinary return and a smash took the set to level at 10-10. Next few minutes showed why PV Sindhu is now regarded one of the best player in the world. After losing the first set and while trailing 8-10, the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver managed to break three match points of Marin and then took the set home with some lovely determined play.
The beginning of the third set saw a more confident Carolina Marin who again took a well-deserved lead, this time of five points, one of which included a 52 shot rally. It was not an easy task for Sindhu to make a comeback after that unassailable lead.
The Olympic champion was 100 percent fit and confident throughout the last set. She gave no chance whatsoever to Sindhu who managed to get only a couple of points in the set. The game ended in the sixth win for Marin in 10 matches against Sindhu and the scoreline read 11-8, 12-14, 11-2 in her favour.
Photo by Edcsk