Sindhu, Saina to kickstart 3rd Premier Badminton League
Guwahati: An exciting battle will be on cards when Olympic medallists P V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal lock horns in the opening match between defending champions Chennai Smashers and Awadhe Warriors at the third edition of the Premier Badminton League here on Saturday.
Less than a year ago it was Sindhu, who had led Chennai to a title triumph after an intense battle with Mumbai Rockets at New Delhi and the Indian ace will hope to begin the tournament on a positive note.
Sindhu, currently ranked No 3 in the World, holds a 2-1 edge in her recent meetings against Saina, with her only loss coming in a riveting Senior National Championship finale held at Nagpur last month.
It is not just a personal battle of the two Indian girls as they would also be looking to guide their respective teams to glory in a highly-competitve league that also features the world's top players including men's World No1 Viktor Axlesson (Denmark) and women's No1 Tai Tzu Ying (Taiwan).
On the eve of the league opener, Sindhu said, "I'm looking forward to our opening match against Awadhe Warriors. It is not just my match against Saina, every match will be tough as there are some really strong teams out there. The competition is going to be really good."
With World No 1 in both men's and women's singles, eight 2017 World Championship medallists, nine Olympic medallists (inlcuding three multiple medal winners) competing in this edition, the league is easily the best among Olympic disciplines in the country.
Organised by Sportzlive under the aegis of the Badminton Association of India, the PBL will witness eight teams, including two new entrants Ahmedabad Smash Masters and North Eastern Warriors, competing against each other in five cities over the next 23 days.
Each team will have one junior player travelling with their respective team to get the exposure and learn from the world's best.
Every day there will be one battle between two teams comprising five matches -- men's, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles. Each match will be a three-game affair of 15 points. If scores are tied 14-14, the team scoring the 15th point first will win that game.
The top four finishers will play the semifinals and finals to be held in Hyderabad.
"With 40 of the world's best players in action, many young players will be inspired to do well and take part in the league in future," said BAI President Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Chennai Smashers: Men's singles: Brice Leverdez (Fra), Aditya Joshi, Daniel Farid, Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Tha).
Women's singles: PV Sindhu, Tanvi Lad. Men's doubles: Chris Adcock (GBR), Lee Yang (Kor), B Sumeeth Reddy. Women's doubles: Gabrielle Adcock (GBR). Coach Arun Vishnu
Awadhe Warriors: Men's singles: Parupalli Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth, Harshit Agarwal. Women's singles: Saina Nehwal, Sai Utterjitha Rao. Men's doubles: Hendra Setiawan (Idn), Chin Chung (Hkg), Tang Chung Man (Hkg). Women's doubles: Christina Pedersen (Den), Mahima Agarwal. Coach Siyadath Ullah.