2016 Premier Badminton League: PV Sindhu looks to inspire Chennai to another win in the double header
After Sunday’s sizzling double-header, it‘s time for badminton enthusiasts to enjoy another such display of back-to-back matches on the same day at the 2016 Premier Badminton League (PBL). The second double-header of this year’s PBL is scheduled to be staged at Lucknow on Tuesday.
The afternoon tie will witness PV Sindhu’s Chennai Smashers taking on Ajay Jayaram’s Delhi Acers while in the evening, the Mumbai Rockets will be locking horns with the Bengaluru Topguns. While Rockets is spearheaded by HS Prannoy, the Topguns’ biggest star is Kidambi Srikanth and he will be eager to help the Bangalore franchise bounce back from defeat.
How will the two matches pan out? We take a look:
Chennai Smashers vs Delhi Acers
Men’s singles: Brice Leverdez (CS) vs Ajay Jayaram (DA) (probable)Brice Leverdez did not have the best of starts to his PBL campaign as he succumbed to an 8-15, 11-15 defeat to Mumbai Rockets’ HS Prannoy. He would be anxious to turn around his fortunes in his very next match. Unfortunately, the World No. 36 squares off against Ajay Jayaram who has been a stumbling block for him throughout his career.
Jayaram holds a 2-0 record over the Frenchman and is currently perched at his highest-ever ranking of 21. The 2015 season saw him defend his Dutch Open title and reach the Korea Open final as well. He would surely be keen to build on that form. There is a high possibility that the Delhi side might want to select this contest for their ‘Trump Match’.
Women’s singles: PV Sindhu (CS) vs PC Thulasi (DA) (probable)
The Chennai Smashers will be feeling pretty confident in women’s singles with PV Sindhu in their squad. The 20-year-old double World Championships bronze medallist has a 2-0 head-to-head record over her senior compatriot, PC Thulasi, who is currently ranked 96th.
Sindhu has come to the 2016 PBL fresh from conquering the Macau Open for the third consecutive time. And if her performance on Sunday against the Mumbai Rockets’ Li Han is anything to go by, she is keen to continue in that vein. That spells doom for Thulasi and it might propel the Chennai side to consider this as their ‘Trump Match’.
Men’s singles: Simon Santoso (CS) vs Tommy Sugiarto (DA) (probable)
The second men’s singles match is very likely to be one between two familiar opponents – Simon Santoso and Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia. At No. 11, the younger Sugiarto is currently placed 102 rungs above his senior compatriot. He had an impressive 2015 season that saw him pocketing three titles.
Form-wise, there’s no doubt that he should be the one favoured to win.However, it is Santoso who boasts of a 3-0 career record over his countryman. That makes this contest quite intriguing.
Men’s doubles: Pranaav Chopra/Chris Adcock (CS) vs Kien Keat Koo/Boon Heong Tan (DA) (probable)
This might turn out to be a very tight contest, replete with some brilliant shotmaking from both the pairs. There is little to separate between these two men’s doubles teams.
On one hand, the Acers have a seasoned pair who is ranked No. 18 and has amassed as many as four titles in 2015. On the other hand, the Smashers will be represented by two very fine doubles players who have already played a very competitive match at the 2016 PBL. Adcock and Chopra battled hard against the formidable Rockets team of Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov but were edged out 10-15, 15-9, 13-15.
Could that narrow loss inspire them to grab a win this time?
Mixed doubles: Chris Adcock/ Pia Zebadiah (CS) vs Akshay Dewalkar/Gabrielle Adcock (DA) (probable)
This showdown will present an interesting scenario as it will very likely pit the husband-wife duo of Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock against each other. The Adcock couple is one of the most revered mixed doubles teams on the Tour presently and they recently scooped up the Dubai World Superseries Finals title.
Both know each other’s weaknesses well and will look to capitalize on them in order to get the win for their respective sides. That said, Chris Adcock and Pia Zebadiah have already won one match and might have an edge over the Acers in this one.
Mumbai Rockets vs Bengaluru Topguns
Men’s singles: HS Prannoy (MR) vs Kidambi Srikanth (BG) (probable)
This match will command all the attention from Indian fans. Prannoy and Srikanth are two friends and academy-mates who know each other’s games inside out. With two of their three showdowns going the distance, it is logical to expect another thriller from them.
The ninth-ranked Srikanth is the one who holds a slim edge of 2-1 in their career meetings and should eventually come through. What’s more, the 22-year-old had a memorable three-game upset of the legendary Lee Chong Wei in his very last PBL encounter. The India Open champion should be raring to go right from the start. His form can also make the Topguns confidently opt for this contest as their ‘Trump Match’.
Women’s singles: Li Han (MR) vs Suo Di (BG) (probable)
The women’s singles can throw up an all-Chinese match. Both these girls gave a great account of themselves in their last PBL matches. While Suo Di won her match against Hyderabad’s Supanida with consummate ease, Li Han managed to take a game off the 12th ranked PV Sindhu and that says a lot.
This match can be a neck-to-neck affair with none having any clear advantage. That can definitely make this an engrossing watch.
Men’s singles: RMV Gurusaidutt (MR) vs Sameer Verma (BG) (probable)
This can be another close encounter. Sameer Verma and RMV Gurusaidutt are placed one after the other in the world rankings – at 46th and 47th respectively. They have met only once – at the India Open Superseries this year – and even that match went to the deciding game in which Gurusaidutt prevailed.
A lot will hinge on this cracker of a match. Even though the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Gurusaidutt lost his last PBL match, he made a spectacular comeback against Awadhe Warriors’ Sai Praneeth in the opener. If he can summon that fighting spirit and courage, he can clinch another win for the Rockets.
Men’s doubles: Vladimir Ivanov/Mathias Boe(MR) vs Khim Wah Lim/Hoon Tien How (BG) (probable)
The Mumbai Rockets will probably be gunning for this one as their ‘Trump Match’. After all, Vladimir Ivanov and Mathias Boe have looked unstoppable together so far. They are unbeaten at this PBL, going two out of two. Surely, the Rockets would not like to break up this pair after the initial success.
Having said that, it won’t be an easy outing for Boe/Ivanov as they are up against two players who regularly play together on the Tour. Khim Wah Lim and Hoon Tien How are ranked 32nd currently andthey do know what it takes to trouble a world class opposition.
Mixed doubles: Kamilla Juhl/Vladimir Ivanov (MR) vs Ashwini Ponnappa/JF Nielsen (BG) (probable)
Unlike his impressive campaign in men’s doubles, Vladimir Ivanov has failed to register even a single win in mixed doubles, alongside former World No. 1 Kamilla Juhl. Both were heartbreaking three-game losses and the Danish-Russian pair certainly has to keep their errors in check if this match goes the distance.
Much to their dismay, they will be squaring off against a duo who charmed the crowds with their performance in their last PBL outing. The pairing of Ashwini Ponnappa and JF Nielsen worked like magic and they won their only match quite comfortably. That should be an added fillip for the Topguns in mixed doubles.
Note: The singles and doubles match-ups are as per our assumptions for the most obvious player combinations. They are subject to change if one or more of the players are unavailable from either team, or if the team managements decide to change the combinations based on current form