Lucknow: Pune 7Aces, in their second tie of the Premier Badminton League 2020 season, defeated the Bengaluru Raptors coming back from 1-3 down in the tie to win it 4-3. The show was led by the doubles pairings of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock and Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan who brought the tie back from a tense state to finally end it in favour of the outfit from Pune. Pune are now placed second in the points table with 10 points from two ties.
The tie started with World No. 71 Kazumasa Sakai for Pune 7Aces taking the court against the young Indian Ansal Yadav who was ranked many places below at 241. It was seeming as if young Yadav will take the first game against Sakai, who was on the losing end in the last tie against the Rockets. Yadav went into the mid-game break leading 8-4 but Sakai finally brought his 'A' game to the fore. There was no stopping the Japanese international as he soon levelled the score after the break and finally closed the game 15-14 coming back from behind.
After the dramatic comeback in game one, it was Sakai, who took the initiative and smashed his way past the defence of the left-handed Yadav. Sakai's attacking play was too much for the young Indian as he closed the game 15-9 and the match in straight games to give Pune 7Aces a 1-0 lead in the tie.
In the second men's singles encounter, it was World No.36 and Thailand Masters 2019 winner Loah Kean Yew from Pune 7Aces who went up against India's World no.11 Sai Praneeth.
The first game was going toe-to-toe as Yew was trailing 5-6 when he got three quick points to go into the mid-game break leading 8-6. Yew and Praneeth were fighting for each point but Yew's deception and attack combination worked very well and he closed the first game 15-10 in style.
The second game was a different story and went in favour of Praneeth by 7-15. The third game was more evenly contested but after leading initially Yew couldn't keep the same level of game throughout and finally ended up losing the game and match 8-15 after a hard-fought three-game encounter. The tie stood level at 1-1.
World No.2 Tai Tzu Ying took to the stage against young Rituparna Das of Pune 7Aces in a trump match for the Raptors. Living up to her reputation the Taiwanese No.1 didn't make many mistakes and closed the first game 15-3.
Though, Das was not ready to back down as she came back strongly in the second game and went into the mid-game break leading 8-2. But after the break, it was Ying who didn't give the young Indian much chance as she won 12 points on the trot to close the game 15-9 and the trump match in straight sets. With the win, Raptors went into a 3-1 lead.
It was now the trump match for Pune 7Aces and they had their hopes on the star-pairing of Hendra Setiawan and Chirag Shetty.
In spite of having such a strong pairing 7Aces trailed at the mid-game break by a point against Arun George and Rian Saputro of the Raptors. It was game point 11 in favour of the Raptors but the World No.2 and No.10 pairing of the 7Aces came back in a heroic manner to win the game 15-14.
The second game saw the Pune 7Aces pairing making quick work of their opponents and closed the game 15-3 to win the game and the match in straight games to level the tie at 3-3.
It was the decider with the mixed doubles encounter. Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock of Pune 7Aces were going up against the pairing of World No.7 mixed doubles player Peng Soon Chan and World No.30 Eom Hye Won of the Raptors. The first game of the encounter went to the Raptors in a hard-fought game by a scoreline of 10-15.
The second game was comeback time again for the 7Aces, as they went into the mid-game break leading 8-3. The change in the style of play with more attacking intent and better control over the net by the 7Aces was the key element. The 7Aces kept the lead alive and finally closed the game 15-11 to take the tie into a deciding game.
The last game was being fought for each and every point and the Raptors went into the mid-game break with a point advantage. It was nail-biting stuff as there were no clear favourites till the very end but it was Pune 7Aces who were able to hold their nerves and closed the game and the match 15-12.
The tie ended with Pune 7Aces winning the same 4-3.