Daren Liew turned out to be the unlikely hero as Hyderabad Hunters got off to a winning start at home with a 2-1 win over North-Eastern Warriors at the Premier Badminton League in the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Wednesday.

With the scores tied one-all thanks to a brilliant display by the Hunters doubles pair of Ben Lane and Vladimir Ivanov in what was the trump match for the Warriors, World No.42 Liew of Hunters shocked World No. 18 Lee Cheuk Yiu in notching a 15-9, 15-10 win in the last tie of the day to clinch the match for the team. 

Liew’s precision in picking the corners and combining big smashes with a splendid net game was a treat to watch. 

Earlier, P.V. Sindhu, playing for the first time as World champion in front of her home crowd, disappointed against Michelle Li who outsmarted the famed Indian with a 15-8, 15-9 win.

As it happened

Michelle seemed to be in a hurry racing away to an 8-2 lead in the first game with a superb blend of smashes and delicate net dribbles. Sindhu committed quite a few unforced errors also. 

In the second game, Sindhu started off with her trademark smash and a couple of stunning cross-court smashes to lead 5-3, but soon saw the opponent score eight points in a row to snatch a 11-5 lead and eventually win the match too.

The contest started with the Hunters mixed doubles pair of Ivanov and N. Sikki Reddy getting the better of G. Krishna Prasad and Kim Ha Na with a 15-12, 8-15, 15-12 win. 

But, the men’s singles, which was the trump match for Hunters, proved to be a disappointing one as World No. 38 Tanongsak Saensomboomsuk put it across World No. 28 Sourabh Verma with a hard-fought 15-14, 15-14.