PBL 2018-19 Highlights: Hyderabad Hunters clean sweeps Pune 7 Aces

Catch live scores and updates from the Premier Badminton League season 4 opener between defending champion Hyderabad Hunters and Pune 7 Aces.

Pune 7 Aces' Carolina Marin takes on Hyderabad Hunters' P.V. Sindhu in the marquee match today.

Welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the Premier Badminton League 2018-19 opener between defending champion Hyderabad Hunters and Pune 7 Aces at the NSCI Stadium in Mumbai. 

This is all the action that we have lined up for the rest of the evening. 

LIVE:

Tie Score

Pune 7 Aces (-1) - 5 Hyderabad Hunters

 

Ivanov/Kjaersfeldt vs Kim SR/Won EH

In the mixed doubles round, Kim, playing his second match of the tie, is paired up with compatriot Eom Hye Won for Hyderabad Hunters. Vladimir Ivanov pairs with Line Kjaersfeldt for Pune 7 Aces.

Hyderabad Hunters win this one as well as Kim and Won beat Ivanov and Kjaersfeldt 15-14, 15-11 in the mixed doubles match.

First

14-15 Kim and Won edge a tight first game.

P.V. Sindhu vs Carolina Marin

Third

15-13 And Sindhu has won it! Yet another victory for the Hyderabad Hunters, winning the tie 5-(-1) now. This match, though, went down to the wire but the World Tour Finals champion had the edge and beat her rival in a tough match.

14-13 Match point Sindhu!

13-13 Marin swings and misses. Sindhu's back in the lead but Marin gets level again with an excellent backhand cross-court.

11-12 And now Marin has the lead! We're approaching an exciting finish to this match.

10-10 You just can't keep Marin out of the game. She keeps coming back. Her smash just stays in and she lets out another intimidating scream.  But Sindhu looks calm.

8-8 And it's exactly as we predicted. Marin has come back strong.  Now it's a test for Sindhu.

8-6 Marin's shot crashes into the net and she's absolutely livid with herself as she let a chance to equalize slip. Sindhu goes into the mid-game break with a slender lead.

7-5 Marin lets another scream out! And that's when you know she's coming back. That scream should be a signal to Sindhu - 'Step it up'.

7-2 She's racing ahead, P.V. Sindhu. She's looked the better player and it doesn't look like she's gonna let it slip. Although, it's Marin and she's usually just as good.

4-2 Sindhu moves into the lead. When these two meet, it's always much more than a PBL match and it's hard to watch the match as Hyderabad vs Pune.

Sindhu and Marin have faced each other twice this year. Sindhu beat Marin at the Malaysia Open and Marin won the clash in the BWF World Championship.

Second

15-8 Sindhu wins the second game! She was completely dominant, forcing Marin into errors and catching her off-guard on many occasions.

14-6 Match point to Sindhu! And it's come much earlier than the last game. The BWF World Tour Finals champions is proving her form.

13-5 Marin tried to be a little too cute there. She hits the net while trying to cushion the shuttle over the net. 

12-4 Marin didn't have to play that shot from Sindhu. It was on its way out. Marin's return goes out and it looks like Sindhu's got even a psycholgical edge this game.  It's an eight-point lead.

9-4 There's that iconic scream from Marin! Sindhu nets a return and it seems like Marin's voiced out all her frustration.

8-2 A powerful smash from Sindhu sent the shuttle right between Marin's legs, even before she could react. Sindhu has dominated proceedings in the second game.

7-2 Such a contrast to the first game. Sindhu took a 6-0 lead and is dominating at the moment.

First

11-14 Match point to Marin and she wins the first game. Sindhu has been poor on the return.

9-11 This time Sindhu's shot goes long and she gifts Marin a point and some relief.

9-10 Marin's shot is too long as Sindhu fights her way back to close the gap.

7-8 At the mid-game interval, Marin's in the lead, a slender one though. Sindhu's got her long reach and power and Marin's got infinite energy and nimbleness around the court. It could turn out to be one of the classics, despite being a dead rubber. 

- It's a less serious chapter in one of the best badminton rivalries in recent times.

Here's what you've been waiting for. Next up is P.V. Sindhu's match against Carolina Marin. Sadly, the stakes aren't very high as Hyderabad Hunters have already clinched the tie convincingly and Carolina Marin would salvage some pride for the Pune 7 Aces if she manages to win.

There is a mixed doubles left to play too, but it remains to be seen whether the teams will decide to play that dead rubber.  

Brice Leverdez vs Lee Huyn-Il

Second

12-15 There's the win! Hyderabad cleans out Pune 7 Aces and win the tie 4-(-1). Now all that's left is a case of pride and formality as Carolina Marin takes on P.V. Sindhu.

11-14 Brice hits it wide and Match point. And tie point for Hyderabad.

10-10 Brice puts his shot wide at the end of a long rally as a deluge of unforced errors continues.

8-7 Brice has taken the lead at the mid-game interval but this game looks just like the first one. It's pretty evenly matched and there have been many unforced errors from both sides of the court.

This is Hyderabad Hunters' trump match and Pune 7 Aces needs to win this one if it is to get back into the game. A loss would mean the end of the tie as Hyderabad would then have an unassailable lead and may even choose to not play the rest of the matches. But that looks unlikely, given that Carolina Marin and P.V. Sindhu are up next and the organizers would hardly want the crowd to go back disappointed without watching the marquee fixture.

First

14-15 The game has both ways but Lee just edges it eventually.  Hyderabad takes the lead.

10-10 How did Lee manage to miss that point?! Lee had the perfect opportunity to lift one above Brice's head but overdoes it and it oes out. Lots of unforced errors early on here.

3-7 Lee has made it look easy so far. He plays a well-disguised smash and catches Brice totally stunned.

Chirag/Boe vs Kim S R/Bodin (Trump match for Pune)

Third

 

13-15 That's the last point they'll save. Chirag nets it as Hyderbad Hunters win it! Bodin Issara and Kim Sa Rang give Hunters another point.  Pune, however, is docked a point and is at -1 right now.

13-14 How many match points can you save?! Five already.

11-14 Boe and Chirag somehow keep this game going. Nerves getting the better of Hyderabad? A point is all it needs.

8-14 Match point to Hyderabad and Pune is in trouble! 

6-11 Pune is so close to losin points in this trump match as Hyderabad breaks away in the decider.  The Hunters pair are too quick for Boe and Chirag.

5-7 That's a two-point cushion for Hyderabad in the decider. And how hard to get was that!

 

5-5 The decider has looked evenly poised so far. It's been a back-and-forth and neither teams have let the other escape with a lead.

Second

10-15 This time, the Hyderabad Hunters didn't let the grip it had on the game slip. Bodin Issara and Kim Sa Rang levels the match for Hyderabad. Pune 7 Aces, for whom it is a trump match, needs to win the decider or they get points deducted.

4-8 Mid-game interval, and like the last game, Hyderabad has the lead at this point. Bodin's been sending powerful smashed from the far end of the court and it's becoming difficult to deal with for the Pune 7 Aces pair.

- Doubles specialist Mathias Boe has had a good year, finishing runner-up at the All England Open and winning the Swiss Open. His parter today, Chirag Shetty won the men's doubles silver at the Commonwealth Games ealier this year. He's been good in India, winning the Hyderabad Open and coming second at the Syed Modi International.

2-5 Bodin has looked really impressive for Hyderabad. He plays a smash down the line an into the body of Chirag Shetty. It's amost impossible to return that.

First

15-13 'Started from the bottom now we're here'. That, in a small way, describes how this game has gone for Chirag and Boe. Pune 7 Aces take the first game.

Mathias Boe thinks very highly of his Pune 7 Aces team.

12-12 The match is getting interesting as we go. Both the teams have upped their game and Pune 7 Aces are moving so well on the court.

7-10 Chirag Shetty and Mathias Boe are finding their way back into the game. Boe's made a smart serve as both his opponents watched as the shuttle fell between them.

4-8 Kim and Bodin have looked really comfortable on the court while Boe and Chirag still find their feet. Hyderabad goes into the mid-game break with the lead.

Next up is the men's doubles match. Chirag Shetty and Mathias Boe pair up for Pune 7 Aces against Kim Sa Rang and Bodin Issara of the Hyderabad Hunters. 

Keep in mind, Pune 7 Aces has used the trump card this match, which means if it wins, it's extra points for Pune, but a loss means negative points. So that's how confident the pair are of winning.

They're next

 

Lakshya Sen vs Mark Caljouw

Third

 

14-15 Mark Caljouw wins!  What a way to kick-start the season. Lakshya Sen showed his class and proved why he's one of the players to watch out for, but Mark Caljouw just edged past him in a match that could have gone either way.

14-14 Saves the match point! A long long rally and Mark Caljouw's shot hits the net.

13-13 It's close and it could still go any way as both the players showcase their best out there.

12-11 Net! Lakshya and Pune 7 Aces are so close to gaining an early advantage in the tie.

10-11 Exciting scenes as Caljouw moves into the lead out of nowhere. Seems like he's saved his best for the last, always just staying in the game.  And the Asian Junior Champion Lakshya Sen is suddenly on the backfoot.

10-10 Caljouw has made a strong comeback after the mid-game interval. Lakshya is finding the net too often and Caljouw's upped his defence.

6-1 Sublime! Lakshya calmly plays a backhand cross-court shot and it's unplayable for Caljouw. 

 

5-0 What a start! That's already a big lead for the Pune 7 Aces, with Lakshya Sen getting his mojo back.

Second

12-15 This game goes to Caljouw and keeps the Hunters in the game.

7-12 Caljouw has finally found his rhythm and is surging ahead. He's world number 35 and Netherlands' national champion for a reason.

7-9 69 shots in that rally!! And somehow Lakshya comes out the winner. Caljouw was on the offensive and Lakshya did well more than once to keep the rally alive and with a silly mistake from the Dutchman (netted a simple shot, trying to cushion it over the net) Lakshya takes the point.

6-8 Mark Caljouw moves into the lead for the first time and goes into the mid-game interval with the lead secure.

5-4 Caljouw had fought well to level the score, but Lakshya moves into the lead again as Caljouw's shot just goes wide.

3-0 Lakshya comes out victorious at the end of a 30-shot rally, as Caljouw's shot crashes into the net. Lakshya continues his good start into the second game. 

- Hyderabad Hunters had won its first match last year against Northeastern Warriors. It went on to win the title.


First

15-10 What a start from the teenage prodigy! He's looking completely in control and Caljouw has been reduced to looking for an opening in the past five minutes.

- The pair are facing each other for the first time.

13-8 Lakshya has got the Dutchman on the backfoot and struggling here! It's looking hard to deal with those delicious smashes from Lakshya's raquet.

9-7 A brilliant cross-court smash from Caljouw sends Lakhya diving to his right but he couldn't get there.

8-6 With a powerful smash down the line, Lakshya goes into the mid-game interval in the lead.

- The Indian teenager, who has had a breakthrough year, is proving to be a tough opponent for the Dutchman who is ranked 35 in the world. 

1 -1 Lakshya Sen wins the first point of the tie and the Dutchman Caljouw quickly gets one back.

-The players have walked on to the court and we're about to begin another season of this exciting tournament.