Lucknow: Some spectacular performances from Russian Vladimir Ivanov helped the Mumbai Rockets win their second match of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) and defeat the Bengaluru Top Guns 4-3 at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.
This was the Rockets’ second win in three ties while the Top Guns have now lost both their contests in the six-team tournament.
The Top Guns got off to a positive start when Chinese Suo Di gave them the first point when she beat Rockets’ Han Li 15-9, 11-15, 15-7 in women’s singles.
“I won the first game quite easily but Han came back strongly to win the second. Thankfully, I hung on to hold the third game and won an important point for our team,” said Suo.
Ivanov then joined hands with experienced Dane Mathias Boe to win the Rockets’ trump match to get them two points. The duo beat Top Guns’ Hoon Thien How and Khim Wah Lim 15-13, 15-11 to help their team take a 2-1 lead.
“Unfortunately our team lost the first match but it’s all about comeback and backing your team. We have won this match which was our trump match,” said Boe.
Then next up in men’s singles, Rockets’ R.M.V. Gurusaidutt defeated Anand Pawar 15-7, 15-13 to give the Mumbai-based team a 3-1 advantage.
“I feel happy to have won points for my team, though not easily. I effortlessly won the first game and thought it would be a cake walk in the second but Anand raised his game and threw a challenge,” said Gurusaidutt.
In a do-or-die match, Top Guns’ skipper Kidambi Srikanth came out on top to defeat H.S. Prannoy 15-9, 15-8 in what was their trump match, levelling the contest at 3-all. “We desperately wanted to win this game after back-to-back losses,” said Srikanth.
It all boiled down to the fifth and final rubber — the mixed doubles contest between Rockets’ Liu Zi Die and Ivanov, who clinched a cliffhanger against Top Guns’ Ashwini Ponnappa and Robert Blair, winning 15-12, 11-15, 15-9 to take the tie 4-3.