AgencyHYDERABAD: Star shuttler PV Sindhu was stunned by North Eastern Warriors’ Michelle Li in straight games as former champions Hyderabad Hunters’ made a disappointing start to its home leg of the Premier Badminton League here on Wednesday. World champion Sindhu suffered an 8-15 9-15 defeat against world no.10 Candian Li in a lop-sided women’s singles contest. Showing quick reflexes and finesse at the net, Li kept the home favourite on the back foot right from the start, building a 9-6 lead. Sindhu tried to go for her smashes while trailing 7-13 but that was only a brief reprieve before the former Commonwealth Games gold medallist wrapped up the first game. Sindhu looked more comfortable in the second game and kept things under control till 5-5. But unforced errors cost Sindhu dearly as Li sailed ahead 8-5 and then kept her nose ahead to upset the Indian. With Hyderabad’s trump player Sourabh Verma and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk tied at 1-1 on the BWF circuit, their showdown was always expected to be a tight contest. In a brilliant game that tested the nerves of both the players, it was the North Eastern Warriors shuttler who passed with flying colours. His anticipation skills and quick footwork allowed him to take the opening game 15-14. The second game turned into a nail-biting affair with both refusing to give the other any space. Hungry to level the match, Verma went up to 9-7 but Tanongsak’s stubborn defence kept things on par till 11-11. Amid vociferous cheers from the crowd, Verma raced ahead to 14-12 lead before the North Eastern Warriors shuttler showed exceptional resilience to save them and complete the 15-14 15-14 win. Earlier, in an enthralling start to the tie, Hyderabad’s mixed doubles pair of Sikki Reddy and Vladimir Ivanov delighted the crowd with a gritty 15-12 8-15 15-12 win over Warriors’ Krishna Prasad Garaga and Kim Ha Na.
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