Hyderabad Strikers sealed their place in the semifinals of the Tennis Premier League (TPL) at the Celebration Club in Mumbai on Friday.
The formidable Hyderabad Strikers defeated the Pune Jaguars 45-35 in their final league match to maintain their impressive run in the TPL.
Tied in joint second place with 130 points after three matches, both teams were looking to win big and it was the Hyderabad team that prevailed. Hyderabad tallied 175 points and are sitting pretty at the top, followed by Mumbai Leon Army with 167.
The Pune Jaguars and Chennai Stallions are tied in third place with 165 points. With two more matches to be played, Gujarat Panthers, on 122, and Bengaluru, on 118, also have an outside chance of making the cut.
Karman Kaur, Vishnu Vardhan & Arjun Kadhe shine for Hyderabad
Karman Kaur, Vishnu Vardhan and Arjun Kadhe performed well for the Hyderabad Strikers as they got the better of the Pune Jaguars.
In the first match of the day, Chennai Stallions seemed to have reserved their best for the last. Lying in fifth position in the points table after three matches, they needed a big win to stay in contention for a semifinal slot. They did exactly that, thumping the unbeaten Mumbai Leon Army 44-36.
Samantha Sharan gave Chennai a great start when she handed a 12-8 defeat to Sowjanya Bavisetti, her first loss in four matches. Playing aggressively, Samantha raced to a 6-1 lead before two unforced errors helped Sowjanya claw her way to 6-4 at the change of sides. Samantha, however, kept attacking the flanks and maintained her lead to win 12-8.
Siddharth Rawat then got into the act, scoring a convincing 13-7 victory over Ramkumar Ramanathan and also maintaining his unbeaten streak. When Purav Raja and Samantha got together to outplay Niki Poonacha and Sowjanya 13-7, it seemed like curtains for Mumbai.
However, Ramkumar and Niki combined brilliantly in the men’s doubles to win over Raja and Rawat. With this effort they ensured that although they lost the match, they held a slender two-point lead over Chennai after their league engagements.
Bengaluru Spartans kept their hopes alive with a narrow 41-39 win over Pune Jaguars, while Chennai Stallions got the better of Hyderabad Strikers by the same margin.
Chennai Stallions bt Mumbai Leon Army 44-36 (Samantha Sharan bt Sowjanya Bavisetti 12-8; Siddharth Rawat bt R Ramkumar 13-7; Purav Raja/Samantha bt Niko Poonacha/Sowjanya 13-7; Raja/Rawat lost to Ramkumar/Pooonacha 6-14).
Hyderabad Strikers bt Pune Jaguars 45-35 (Karman Kaur bt Rutuja Bhosle 12-8; Arjun Kadhe lost to Ishaque Eqbal 9-11; Vishnu Vardhan/Karman bt Saketh M/Rutuja 12-8; Varshan/Kadhe bt Saketh/Ishaque 12-8).
Bengaluru Spartans bt Pune Jaguars 41-39 (Sabina Sharipova lost to Rutuja Bhosle 8-12; Sriram Balaji bt Ishaque Iqbal 11-9; Sabia/Jeevan N tied with Rutuja/Saketh M 10-10; Balaji/Jeevan bt Saketh/Ishaque 12-8).
Chennai Stallions bt Hyderabad Strikers 41-39 (Samantha Sharan bt Kaerman Kaur 13-7; Siddharth Rawat bt Arjun Kadhe 12-8; Purav Raja/Samantha lost to Vishnu Vardhan/Karman 8-12; Raja/Rawat lost to Kadhe/Vardhan 8-12).