That's it for today. Thanks for tuning in!
The defending champion can become the first-ever two-time winner of the PBL title on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Warriors can also go all the way for the first time ever. All five matches in the summit clash have the potential of stealing the show. We've got a wonderful final ahead of us ladies and gentlemen. Stay Tuned!
The Bengaluru Raptors will take on the North Eastern Warriors in tomorrow's Premier Badminton League (PBL) season five final.
Despite Sai Praneeth losing his match tonight, the Raptors overcame the Aces. This shows the depth in their line-up.
THE TIE IS DONE AND DUSTED!!!!
15-10: AND THERE IT IS!!! THE BENGALURU RAPTORS BEAT PUNE 7 ACES 4-3!!! Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won defeat Chris and Gabrielle Adcock 15-13, 15-10. The Raptors send their fans into celebration mode. Chan led from the front with power and accuracy tonight.
12-8: It's literally like a home game for the Bengaluru Raptors. The atmosphere is electric! Chris and Gabrielle Adcock have to do something special here to turn the tables tonight. However, that might be highly unlikely considering Chan and Eom's form.
10-6: Four-point lead for the Raptors yet again. CHALLENGE UNSUCCESSFUL FOR THE ACES. Chan Peng Soon, a Rio Olympics silver medalist is using all his experience to return every single smash thrown at him. Eom Hye Won has served well too.
6-6: What a comeback from the Pune duo! Four straight points for them as well. Gabrielle Adcock has clearly improved her serve here. Chan and Eom made a few mistakes as well.
6-2: Four consecutive points for Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won here. They are kind of running away with the game now. The Adcocks have made several unforced errors in the second game.
2-2: This tie, on the whole, has been much more competitive than yesterday's semifinal between the North Eastern Warriors and Chennai Superstarz. Both the mixed doubles pairs have been at their best tonight.
GAME - 2
15-13: AND THE PAIR OF CHAN PENG SOON/EOM HYE WON WIN THE FIRST GAME 15-13! Chris and Gabrielle Adcock look distraught as the Pune 7 Aces stare at elimination now. On the other hand, the Bengaluru Raptors are one game away from yet another final.
13-12: Quick thinking at the net from Gabrielle Adcock allows her team to finally find a break in serve. This is extremely close now. The team with the better serve will take the game from here.
11-11: The Adcocks are still in it. Poor service game from the Raptors pair. Chris and Gabrielle were just fed with easy smashes in the last few points.
10-8: REVIEW UNSUCCESSFUL FOR THE BENGALURU RAPTORS! Pune brings back the deficit to two as the shuttle goes long.
8-6: Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won gain a two-point lead heading into the break. Eom has been serving well tonight. And Chan has just come up with tough smashes. Great teamwork from the Raptors.
4-5: Nothing much to separate the two teams so far. Chris Adcock and Chan Peng Soon are going on a smash war here. And even that battle has been pretty even so far.
2-3: Gabrielle Adcock has come up with some excellent smashes at the net. Chris actually set up those. Chan and Eom on the backfoot straightaway. However, we have four very experienced mixed doubles players on the court now. So we are in for a thriller.
GAME - 1
THE MATCH BEGINS!
Chris and Gabrielle Adcock of the Pune 7 Aces will take on Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won of the Bengaluru Raptors. Do-or-die situation for both teams!!
The final match of this PBL-5 semifinal fixture is the mixed doubles!
15-12: THERE GOES THE MATCH! TAI TZU YING SURVIVES A SCARE IN HER TRUMP MATCH!!! She beats Rituparna Das 15-12, 15-12. Pune 7 Aces star Rituparna should be proud of her performance tonight. Bengaluru Raptors finally level the overall score of the tie.
12-12: WHAT A SMASH FROM RITUPARNA! She levels the scores in the second game. Her shot selection has been phenomenal tonight. Any other opponent, she would have won the game by now. But she's playing Tai here.
11-8: CHALLENGE UNSUCCESSFUL FOR RITUPARNA DAS! She has used up both her reviews this game. Tai Tzu Ying is finally beginning to break away in this match. REMINDER: The next clash, a mixed doubles between the Adcocks (Pune) and Chan Peng Soon/Eom Hye Won (Bengaluru) will happen only if Tai Tzu Ying win this match.
7-8: Rituparna holds the lead at the break yet again. Tai has been late on her forehand returns tonight. She clearly isn't at her 100 per cent. However, she's just eight points away from levelling the score of the tie for team - the Bengaluru Raptors.
5-6: Still a solitary-point lead for Rituparna. Her placement and judgement have been spot-on as well. But in a matter of few shots, Tai can turn the tables once again.
2-3: Tai Tzu Ying makes some more unforced errors now. Rituparna Das looks so confident with her cross-court returns. It's time she shifts gears and goes on a full-attack mode.
GAME - 2
15-12: WHAT A SMASH! TAI SEALS THE FIRST GAME 15-12. However, Rituparna put up a valiant fight there. She dominated her higher-ranked and experienced opponent for most parts of that game. But the brilliance of Tai Tzu Ying the warrior was just too much for her towards the end.
13-11: Rituparna with a clever smash-drop combination there. Tai Tzu Ying still hasn't hit her best tonight. But somehow she's managed to bag a two-point lead.
10-9: Finally Tai Tzu Ying claims the lead. She has made way too many errors tonight. She's slowly getting there. Meanwhile, Rituparna Das has executed some excellent deceptive shots here.
7-8: Rituparna Das takes a narrow one-point lead into the break. The Raptors are up against the wall now. A loss in this encounter will send the team packing.
4-6: Rituparna Das is really moving well tonight. She is retrieving Tai Tzu Ying's shots with ease and feeling much more comfortable during the longer rallies. However, Bengaluru's world No. 2 is a champion for a reason. She might catch up in no time.
2-3: CHALLENGE UNSUCCESSFUL FOR TAI TZU YING! Rituparna Das has started off this game well. All three of her points have been winners.
GAME - 1
THE WOMEN'S SINGLES CLASH IS UNDERWAY!
If Rituparna beats Tai Pune 7 Aces will play the North Eastern Warriors in tomorrow's PBL-5 final. Stay Tuned!
Next up, Tai Tzu Ying will play Rituparna Das in Bengaluru Raptors' trump match!
13-15: AND KAZUMASA SAKAI DEFEATS SAI PRANEETH 15-11, 15-13 TO GIVE PUNE 7 ACES A 3-1 LEAD IN THE SEMIFINAL TIE! There was 62-BWF ranking place difference between the two shuttlers. But Sakai has pulled off arguably one of the biggest upsets this season.
11-13: Sakai is playing a very smart game here. He's cleverly mixing up his shots. Praneeth is just unable to predict what's next. Beautiful drop to win that last point.
8-11: Praneeth's day of mistakes continues. Sakai is making his opponent work for each point. Brilliant net play from the Pune shuttler as well. This game is Sakai's to lose now.
5-9: An unforced error with a shot at the net by Kazumasa Sakai gives Sai Praneeth a much needed break in serve. Still a four-point lead for the Japanese star from the Pune 7 Aces.
4-6: REVIEW UNSUCCESSFUL FOR SAI PRANEETH!! Sakai maintains his two-point lead with a down the line winner which was left alone by Praneeth thinking it was long. But his judgement goes wrong once again.
2-4: Unbelievable stuff from Sakai!!! He is returning almost everything. He doesn't seem to be in the mood to give away points now. Sai Praneeth made him run all over the place in that last 40-plus shot rally but the Japanese came out on top in the end.
GAME - 2
11-15: Kazumasa Sakai of Pune 7 Aces claims the first game 15-11 against Sai Praneeth of Bengaluru Raptors. Sakai just dominated Praneeth towards the end of the first game there.
11-12: Sakai with a one-point advantage now! Sai Praneeth with several unforced errors now. Sakai, on the other hand, is making it look effortless with the forehand winners.
10-8: Finally Sakai is able to break Praneeth's serve with ease. The Bengaluru man has been serving well tonight. Sakai has been coming up with a number of mistimed smashes tonight much to the delight of Praneeth.
8-6: Sai Praneeth gets the lead at the first break. Can't say it's been comfortable for the Indian world No. 11 but he;s managed to bag the advantage.
6-4: Praneeth with a two-point lead now. Sakai committing a number of mistakes here. REMINDER: World No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying will be playing Bengaluru's trump match next against Rituparna Das. So if Sakai loses this match, Pune 7 Aces will be at a major disadvantage.
3-3: Sai Praneeth after conceding a lead has made a comeback with a variety of strokes. Kazumasa Sakai has looked positive as well. This might be a very close match.
GAME - 1
AND THE MATCH BEGINS!
A win for Praneeth will put Bengaluru Raptors in the driver's seat in this semifinal.
Sai Praneeth will take on Kazumasa Sakai in the second men's singles outing next!
15-6: BRICE LEVERDEZ BEATS MITHUN MANJUNATH 15-14, 9-15, 15-6. This is the Frenchman's fourth successive win in PBL-5. He won an one-sided third and final game to claim his team's first point tonight.
13-6: The Bengaluru Raptors shuttler is just running away with this game. Mithun has no answers whatsoever. Leverdez is coming up with some unreturnable smashes. Where was this Leverdez early on in the match?
9-6: Three-point lead for Leverdez now. Finally, he's playing like a world No. 39. Mithun has run out of gas. Leverdez is drawing his younger opponent into making mistakes. Leverdez is also finishing off the longer rallies to perfection now.
6-4: Finally a break in serve for Mithun. Two-point lead for Brice. End-to-end stuff from both players as they've shifted gears. The best part of this match is the third game. Great display of attacking badminton so far.
3-3: SCORES LEVEL BUT POSITIVE STUFF FROM BRICE LEVERDEZ FINALLY!! He's getting the better of Mithun Manjunath with some lethal cross-court smashes.
GAME - 3
9-15: Mithun Manjunath seals the second game 15-9 against Brice Leverdez. Despite looking tired, Mithun has come out on top. Leverdez has to start attacking at least in the third game. Otherwise, it will be curtains for him.
7-12: Finally two consecutive 20-plus shot rallies in this match. Five-point lead for the Indian youngster from Pune 7 Aces. Bengaluru Raptors' Brice Leverdez is struggling big time now.
6-8: And Brice over-hits another shot as Mithun gains a two-point lead at the break. This match is about defence and more defence. Leverdez clearly looks off-colour and Mithun is not capitalising on that.
4-6: Finally a smash winner to the body from Brice Leverdez. Mithun has looked the better player in the second game. However, its just two pints separating the players now.
1-4: Three-point lead for Mithun now! The unforced errors are piling up for Brice Leverdez on the forehand side. The Frenchman looks way too dull today. No attacking intent whatsoever.
GAME - 2
15-14: Brice Leverdez takes the error-prone first game 15-14 on deciding point against Mithun Manjunath. This should be the most defensive game played this season. Both players hesitated to finish off points and were happy just to return. Mithun, being a little more attacking, looked to have lost steam during the last few points. And that service error from Mithun during the last point summed up the game.
12-12: IT'S STILL LEVEL!! Both players are losing or gaining points due to mistakes. Not many winners in this game so far. Mithun looks tired though. It's been a long time since Leverdez hit a decent smash. Will one of them go on the attack? Highly doubtful!
9-9: Mithun has given away some easy points now. He's not mixing up shots that well. Brice Leverdez is easily predicting what's next. However, the Bengaluru player is still on the defensive.
6-6: THE SCORES ARE LEVEL NOW! Brice Leverdez is just happy to defend which is not helping him. He's giving Mithun way too many opportunities to go for attacking shots.
2-4: Brice Leverdez looks rusty here. He's made quite a few errors so far. He needs to go on the attack because he's way more experienced than his opponent. Mithun, on the other hand, has been spot on with his returns.
GAME - 1
THE MATCH IS UNDERWAY!
Leverdez will be hoping to bring his side, the Raptors, back into this tie with a win in the next clash.
Next up, Brice Leverdez will take on Indian youngster Mithun Manjunath in the first men's singles match of the night.
10-15: PUNE 7 ACES TAKE A 2-0 LEAD IN THE TIE!!! Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan beat Rian Agung Saputro and Arun George 15-12, 15-10.
9-13: Still a four-point lead for the Aces. Arun and Rian's unforced errors are not helping the Raptors' cause. Chirag and Setiawan are now happy to stay back and wait for mistakes from their opponents.
6-10: This match is just drifting away from the Raptors. At 35, Hendra Setiawan is schooling his opponents with his serves and returns. Chirag is complementing him well.
5-7: The experienced Setiawan is impressing at the net. Chirag is setting up his partner well for the smashes. Arun and Rian need to start attacking. No second thoughts there.
3-3: Already a number of unforced errors in this game. The service of both sides has been poor as well. No long rallies yet in this encounter.
GAME - 2
12-15: Chirag and Setiawan seal the first game against Arun and Rian 15-12. They are one game away from giving their side a two-point lead in the overall tie.
11-14: Three game points for the Pune 7 Aces. Chirag and Setiawan, after a very slow start, have redeemed themselves with some fine placements and net play.
10-12: The Pune duo has turned the tables now. Arun and Rian are gifting easy points away. They are either hitting the net or conceding easy smashes.
9-7: Bengaluru with a two-point lead now. Brilliant stuff from the pair. They are serving extremely well and Setiawan and Chirag have hit some shuttles long as well.
6-6: The Bengaluru duo has done reasonably well so far. They are not giving Setiawan and Chirag an inch. If this trump is broken we might see a similar story as yesterday.
3-3: Decent start from both sides. A couple of unforced errors here but all four players involved have begun the match in a defensive manner.
GAME - 1
AND THE TIE BEGINS!
The men's doubles clash will open the tie. And Pune plays its trump straightaway!
ORDER OF PLAY: (Bengaluru Raptors vs Pune 7 Aces)
Men's Doubles - Arun George/Rian Agung Saputro lost to (Trump Match) Hendra Setiawan/Chirag Shetty 12-15, 10-15.
Men's Singles - Brice Leverdez beat Mithun Manjunath 15-14, 9-15, 15-6.
Men's Singles - Sai Praneeth lost to Kazumasa Sakai 11-15, 13-15.
Women's Singles - Tai Tzu Ying (Trump match) beat Rituparna Das 15-12, 15-12.
Mixed Doubles - Chan Peng Soon/Eom Hye Won beat Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock 15-13, 15-10.
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