Another mouth-watering clash in the offingDecember 23, 2017
Whenever a Saina-Sindhu clash is round the corner, everything else takes a back seat.
The Premier Badminton League (PBL) Season 3 is no different. The inaugural contest between defending champion Chennai Smashers and Awadhe Warriors at the N.C. Bordoloi Indoor Stadium here on Thursday, has become an affair of secondary importance due to the possible face-off between the two World and Olympic medallists.
In their last outing in the National championship’s title clash in Nagpur last month, Saina Nehwal had got the better of P.V. Sindhu.
So, is it revenge time for Smashers’ Sindhu?
“You win some, you lose some. It is not about revenge. When you go on to the court, anybody can win. So both of us will play aggressively and it is also for the team,” said Sindhu.
Keeping a watch on Saina, who has “recovered” from an injury, will be interesting though.
Smashers has a lot of balance. Frenchman Brice Leverdez and Thai World No. 12 Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk will lead the challenge in men’s singles, while the Adcock couple, Chris and Gabrielle, will be in charge of the mixed doubles department. Chris may join hands with Korean Lee Yang for men’s doubles.
Saina and K. Srikanth are the top stars in the Warriors team, which is one of the most consistent outfits.
Srikanth’s fitness will hold the key for Warriors. P. Kashyap, who is the other leading men’s singles player and missed most of the season due to injuries, will try to make the most of the opportunity.
The team has some fine doubles players in Hendra Setiawan, Or Chin Chung and Tan Chung Man and women’s doubles specialist World No. 7 Christinna Pedersenn.
Besides, focus will be on some of the elite players, including women’s World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying (Ahmedabad), men’s No. 1 Viktor Axelsen (Bengaluru) and Olympic champion Carolina Marin (Hyderabad), with the progress of the event, which has two new teams in Northeast Eastern Warriors and Ahmedabad Smash Masters.
Saturday’s matches: Chennai Smashers vs Awadhe Warriors, 7 p.m.