Doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa was burdened with the task of stopping Marin in the last game.
Bengaluru: Bengaluru Blasters started their home leg on the wrong foot, falling to Hyderabad Hunters 3-4 in their first home match here on Saturday. Despite the loss the Blasters played out an edge-of-the-seat thriller dragging the match to the wire with Carolina Marin sealing it for the Hunters.
Doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa was burdened with the task of stopping Marin in the last game. But it was heartbreak for the Bengaluru lass as she lost the game 11-9, 5-11, 8-11. With the final tie being the decider, doubles specialist Ashwini looked to cause an upset as she took the opening game as Marin fumbled uncharacteristically to get going.
With the home girl taking the lead, the packed crowd chanted her name as she aimed to cause an upset of the tournament over the Olympic champion. Marin, who had lost the mixed doubles match earlier, fought back to comfortably take the second game. The last game was exciting as the players went neck-to-neck with Ashwini taking the lead for a while before the Spaniard bounced back to go up 7-6 before the Spaniard wrapped it up 11-8 to give Hyderabad the victory.
Earlier, the Blasters lost the opening tie with Sameer Verma notching up an easy victory over Boonsak Ponsana 11-9, 11-7. In the mixed doubles, the home duo of Sung Hyun Ko an Sikki Reddy made short work of the Hunters’ Marin and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, levelling the match 1-1, with a 11-9, 11-7 scoreline.
With scores level, it was easy work for Olympic champ Victor Axelsen to win Bengaluru’s trump match, defeating Sai Praneeth 11-6, 11-5. In a one-sided contest, world no. 3 Axelsen towered over Praneeth and left little room for the Hunters’ shuttler to get a grip on the game. Having comfortably won, the Dutch celebrated in style throwing his racquet into the crowd as the crowd went into a frenzy.
Leading 3-1, a win in the next match would have secured the home team’s win, but it wasn’t meant to be as the Hunters fought back from a game down to take the tie before Marin sealed it.