PBL 2020: Pune Aces beat Rockets, Chirag and Rituparna shine

Pune 7 Aces' PBL campaign got off to a winning start, courtesy stellar performances from the Chris and Gabrielle Adcock, Chirag Shetty and Rituparna Das.

Pune 7 Aces' Rituparna Das was more in her element in the second and third games; her attacking play was more effective than Mumbai Rockets' Shreyanshi Pardeshi.   -  PBL/ Twitter

Helped by sprightly performances from Loh Kean Yew and the doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan, Pune 7 Aces ensured a winning start to its campaign in the Premier Badminton League on Saturday. With a 5-2 win over Mumbai Rockets, it is now placed fourth in the points table.

The sharp Yew beat Parupalli Kashyap 15-7, 15-14, unsettling him with his quick reflexes. The Aces had been leading 2-0 before this contest, and Kashyap’s upset served as the final nail in the coffin.

As it happened | PBL Season 5 Highlights: Pune 7 Aces 5-2 Mumbai Rockets

The contest had been set up by a win in three games by Shetty and Setiawan, who combined well to post a comeback win over the South Korean pair of Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang. Shetty and Setiawan led early in the first game but lost momentum soon after to go down 15-14. “[In] the first [game], we tried to keep the shuttle low and we were able to do that and we led 10-5. Unfortunately, we lost the momentum from there and they came close,” Shetty told Sportstar later.

But they didn’t allow their opponents to settle into a rhythm in the next two games. Shetty manned the backcourt, a role different from usual as he plays on the front with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, his regular doubles partner. By the end of the third game, they were regularly winning points via the smash. Eventually, the duo won 14-15, 15-5, 15-6.

With her assured, all-around play, Rituparna Das doubled Pune’s lead with a win in three games over Shreyanshi Pardeshi. Pardeshi put up a spirited performance but in the end proved second-best to a sharper opponent. She retrieved well early on and managed deft touches at the net to win a number of points, but Rituparna was more in her element in the second and third games; her attacking play was more effective.

Commenting on the contest, Rituparna told Sportstar: “The strategy was to push her back and make her move and then to hit a cross-court smash.”

Rockets, however, made it 4-2 with Lee Dong Keun’s 15-7, 15-13 win over Kazumasa Sakai in a trump match. Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock, then, made it 5-2 for Pune with a dominant display against Kim Gi Jung and Pia Zebidiah.


The results

Pune 7 Aces beat Mumbai Rockets 5-2

Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan beat Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang 14-15,15-5, 15-6; Rituparna Das beat Shreyanshi Pardeshi 11-15, 15-9, 15-9; Loh Kean Yew beat P. Kashyap 15-7, 15-14; Kazumasa Sakai lost to Lee Dong Keun 7-15, 13-15; Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock beat Kim Gi Jung and Pia Zebidiah 15-12,10-15, 15-6

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