Hyderabad: Rituparna Das registered an upset win against Beiwen Zhang as Pune 7Aces won their fifth tie of Premier Badminton League (PBL) 2020 at the GMC Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium on Monday. Pune 7Aces took a further step towards the semi-final as they defeated Awadhe Warriors 4-1. Youngster Rituparna Das, Loh Kean Yew and Chris and Gabby Adcock led the team to the comprehensive win.
The first moment of brilliance for Pune 7Aces came in the trump match for Awadhe Warriors as world no.14 Beiwen Zhang went against World no.100 Rituparna Das. The young Indian from Pune 7Aces pulled off a huge upset as she beat Zhang in straight games 15-13, 15-12 and downed the trump. The win got Pune from 1-0 down in the tie to lead 1-0.
Das figured out that Zhang's smashes can prove to be an issue and resorted to slowing down the game and moving Zhang around the court. Das led during the mid-game interval in the first game by 8-5 and soon Das's style was becoming a problem for Zhang who was forced into errors and finally Das won the game 15-13. The second game was a similar story as Das again lead 8-5 at mid-game but Zhang wasn't ready to let it go so easily as she equalised at 9-9. But Das maintained her calm and pulled through with some amazing shots working out angles and playing to her strength to finally close the game and match 15-12.
In the opening men's doubles encounter, Hendra Setiawan-Chirag Shetty went up against the South Korean pair of Ko Sung Hyun-Shin Baek Cheol and the Pune pairing started with an easy win in the first game 15-6.
But the tides turned in the second and third games where Awadhe's men's doubles pairing won two continuous games by 15-9 and 15-12. Some errors from the Pune pair in both the games at crucial points let then down.
In the mixed doubles encounter, it was a mismatch as the settled pairing of the Adcocks from Pune 7Aces cruised passed the pairing of Christina Pedersen-Ivan Sozonov. The first game was a mere walk in the park as the Adcocks won it 15-6 and followed it up with another brilliant game giving little or no chance to opponents as Pune won the game and match 15-6, 15-9. Pune lead 2-0 at this point in the tie.
Pune 7Aces played their trump on World No.37 Loh Kean Yew who went up against World No.47 Subhankar Dey. The first game became a nail-biting affair as Dey was giving a tough fight to Yew. Yew, came back from 2-6 down to level it 6-6 and finally closed the game 15-12 making quick work of Dey over the last few points. The second game was swinging towards Dey but Yew picked his game up and with smashes, drops and inch-perfect pushes, Yew closed the game and match 15-14.
The momentum was now with Pune 7Aces as Kazumasa Sakai followed suit and dominated the first game against World no.64 Ajay Jayaram playing a near-perfect one. He closed the first game 15-6 with relentless smashes and net court play. The second game though went Jayaram's way as he won the game 15-10. The last game was again looking like it will go Jayaram's way easily but after the mid-game break sides, it changed and Sakai almost turned the match on its head. Sakai's smashes and speed of the game almost got him over the line but Jayaram maintained his composure and won it 13-15 to get the first points for Awadhe Warriors in the tie.
MD: Chirag Shetty/Hendra Setiawan lost to Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol (15-6, 9-15, 15-12)
WS: Rituparna Das def. Beiwen Zhang (T) (15-13, 15-12)
MX: Chris/Gabby Adcock def. Christina Pedersen/Ivan Sozonov (15-6, 15-9)
MS-1: Loh Kean Yew (T) def. Subhankar Dey (15-12, 15-14)
MS-2: Kazumasa Sakai lost to Ajay Jayaram (15-6, 10-15, 15-13)