Kidambi Srikanth had to work hard against the Smash Masters’ Daren Liew whom he trails 0-3 in their head-to-head record on the international circuit.
Hyderabad: Sourabh Verma, who has been a part of the Ahmedabad Smash Masters for two years, won the first men’s singles match of the night to deny the Kidambi Srikanth-led Bengaluru Raptors a win in the latter’s first outing at the Premier Badminton League in Gachibowli Stadium here on Friday.
Former World No. 1 Srikanth stopped Ahmedabad’s winning streak to bring home one crucial point but his valiant effort ultimately went in vain in a narrow 3-4 loss for the Raptors.
Earlier, Ahmedabad’s Trump pair of Satwiksairaj and Sikki Reddy started the day on a winning note, even though the match had ebbs and flows. The Indians’ impressive fightback in the first game against Bengaluru’s Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith fell short as the CWG silver medallists pocketed the first game 15-13. Sikki’s sublime net-game helped them turn around their fortunes and build a lead of 8-4, which they extended to 15-11 to level the match. Satwik and Sikki showed nerves of steel to save a couple of match points in an enthralling decider to get the vital 2 points.
Russian Open champion Sourabh Verma’s athleticism and speed were instrumental in his pocketing the first game 15-11 over the Raptors’ Sai Praneeth. Sourabh continued to show a lot of urgency and purpose in his shots to prevent Sai from executing his deceptive strokes. Midway through the second game, Sai injected aggression into his shots to grab it 15-11 but Verma won the riveting third game on a decider point to push the Smash Masters up 3-0.
Kidambi Srikanth had to work hard against the Smash Masters’ Daren Liew whom he trails 0-3 in their head-to-head record on the international circuit. The Bengaluru skipper exhibited his usual attacking shots to take the match 15-9, 6-15, 15-11.
Mixed doubles: Rankireddy Satwiksairaj/ N. Sikki Reddy (T, ASM) bt Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith (BP) 13-15, 15-11, 15-14
Men’s singles: Sourav Verma (ASM) bt Sai Praneeth (BP) 15-11, 11-15, 15-14; Daren Liew (ASM) lost Kidambi Srikanth (BP) 9-15, 15-6, 11-15.
Men’s doubles: Kidambi Nandagopal/ L. Reginald (ASM) lost M. Ahsan/ H. Setiawan (T, BP) 13-15, 9-15.
Women’s singles: Kirsty Gilmour (ASM) bt Vu Thrang (BP) 15-8, 15-13.