The new year started with a bang for all the badminton fans of India as the 2 golden girls of Indian Badminton, Saina Nehwal, and PV Sindhu clashed against each other in the ongoing season of PBL.
Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu represented North East Warriors and Hyderabad Hunters respectively. Hyderabad Hunters were at the 2nd position in the points table, behind Mumbai Rockets, while the North East Warriors were placed at the 6th position before the match started.
This was one of the most anticipated matches of the entire PBL. Both Saina and Sindhu wanted to win the match in front of their Indian fans.
PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal's performance in PBL 2018 before this mega-clash
PV Sindhu started off this tournament in a rocking fashion with a 2-1 sets victory against the great, Caroline Marin. However, in the next two matches, Sindhu suffered shock defeats by the hands of Sun Ji-hyun of South Korea and Beiwen Zhang of USA.
Saina Nehwal did not play a single match in this edition of the PBL, as she was recovering from a shin injury. However, Saina decided to play this important tie against Sindhu, although she was not 100 percent fit.
Who was the favourite to win the match and why?
1)Head to Head Record: Saina Nehwal ahead
If we look at the head to head record of these two Indian Badminton superstars, then Saina Nehwal was ahead of PV Sindhu. In the BWF events, these two players met each other 4 times, with Saina coming out victorious on 3 occasions. However, in PBL, they met only once previously, where PV Sindhu got the better of Saina.
2) Based on Recent Form: No one was ahead
PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal both had a mixed bag 2018, where they had their shares of ups and downs. In 2018, they met only once, in the Commonwealth Games Final, where Saina came out victorious. However, PV Sindhu ended the year with a bang, as she went on to win the prestigious BWF World Tour Finals, beating the best players in the world. Thus based on recent form and performance, it was very hard to choose a favourite going into the match.
3) Based on Fitness: PV Sindhu ahead
When two top international shuttlers meet each other, then their fitness becomes a determining factor, as there is hardly any difference between them, in terms of quality. PV Sindhu went into the match, being fully fit, while Saina was making a comeback after missing out the initial matches, due to a shin injury. As Saina was not 100% fit, PV Sindhu was definitely the favourite going into this match.
Result of the Match
As expected, the match was a keenly contested one. PV Sindhu finally came out victorious in 3 sets, by 10-15, 15-9, 15-5 margin.
In the first game, Sindhu raced ahead to a 10-6 lead. But Saina came back brilliantly to win the game by 15-10 points after winning 9 points in a row.
In the second game, Sindhu drew level after a hard fought contest. But in the final game, Sindhu was at her very best, as she won by a huge margin of 15-5 points to wrap up the match. Sindhu's victory, helped Hyderabad Hunters win the tie by a 5-0 margin against the North East Warriors and get to the top of the points table in this year's PBL.