The first leg of the ongoing Premier Badminton League Season 3 was held in Guwahati. 4 action-packed legs were held in the Assamese capital and at the end of it, the home side North Eastern Warriors are sitting at the top of the table with five points, tied alongside Hyderabad Hunters.
Here are 5 of the best performers in the inaugural leg of the PBL!
The first fixture saw Chennai Smashers take on the Awadhe Warriors. Fans expected the women's singles clash to between PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal but the latter pulled out last minute due to fitness issues.
She was replaced by Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka, who faced Sindhu in the women's singles game. Sindhu swept Chukka away 15-10 15-9 as the Chennai Smashers ended up losing the tie 3-4 but Sindhu's performance stood out for its sheer dominance.
Wang Tzu Wei
The 22-year-old from Chinese Taipei put in a splendid performance for the North Eastern Warriors in their fixture versus the Hyderabad Smashers. Although the Warriors ended up losing the tie 2-5, Wei's performance in his game versus Sai Praneeth was enough to win him the Player of the Tie award.
Despite conceding the first game to Praneeth, the Warriors star came back strong winning the next two. The world number 11 lost the first game 11-15 but put in an absolutely sensational performance and blew away Praneeth 15-6, 15-6 in the next two games.
The world number 16, who hails from China, sparked an amazing comeback in his win versus South Korean star Son Wan Ho. Tian plays for the Delhi Dashers and although they lost their first game of the season against the Mumbai Rockets, Tian's performance won him the Player of the Tie award and he is one of the top performers of the first leg.
Houwei lost the first game 13-15, a very closely contested affair. He did not give up and came back, winning the next two games 15-13 15-9. The fact that this win came against Wan Ho, who is currently ranked number 5 in the world makes it even sweeter.
The Dashers will be hoping to win their next game, which will be in front of their home fans.
Tai Tzu Ying
The next player on the list is current women's world number one, Tai Tzu Ying. She represented the Ahmedabad Smash Masters as they faced the North Eastern Warriors. The women's singles saw Ying take on Michelle Li of Canada, who is ranked number 59 in the world.
The result was just what everyone expected, Li was no match for Ying's powerful smashes and delicate drops. Ying ended up winning the match in a fairly comprehensive way, defeating Li 15-6, 15-10 in straight sets. This helped Ahmedabad Smashers notch up their first win of the season 4-3, while the defeat was NE Warriors' second of the season.
Kim Gi Jung and Shin Baek Cheol
Even though the North Eastern Warriors had little to cheer as they saw their team lose to Ahmedabad Smashers 3-4, the performance put in by their Men's Doubles was worth appreciating. Jung and Cheol played LHC Reginal and LH Him who represented the Ahmedabad Smashers.
This win was further crucial for the NE Warriors because it ensured that they did not finish with negative points on the table. Jung and Cheol ended up winning the tie 15-8, 15-11, a dominating performance. The NE warriors will be hoping that they can turn the momentum in their favour as the PBL now moves on to the second leg, which is being held in Delhi.