After Mumbai-lad Ajay Jayaram provided a spectacular start for Hyderabad Hotshots in the Indian Badminton League (IBL), Hotshots’ icon player Saina Nehwal made it 2-0 with a 17-21, 21-17, 11-6 win over World No 3 Juliane Schenk. Nehwal came back from a game down to win a match that lasted 59 minutes at the National Sports Club Of India (NSCI) on Monday.
Nehwal was unable to match Schenk’s net play and some brilliant smashes and lost the first game 17-21.The first game saw the German hit seven smashes.
Nehwal clawed back in the second game to win 21- 19 to stretch the result to the decider. In the second game, both were neck-to-neck at 6-6. The Hyderabadi extended the lead to 10-7, but the German chased down everything to make it 14-14. Each point was a hard-fought one for Nehwal (23), who eventually won 21-19.
The decider was a battle of wits where Nehwal, who hit seven smashes in the game, edged out Schenk 11-6.
“This is not the first time that I have beaten Schenk. She has given me a tough time each time we have played. This time too, the match was close and tough. But I am happy that I won and that too in India,” said an elated Nehwal.
Meanwhile, Jayaram was delighted to beat Pune Pistons’ World No 5 Tien Minh Nyumen 21-19, 21-8. He said: “I lost to Tien last year and at the back of mind, I was under pressure to win this game. I am very happy to have won this match in front of the Mumbai crowd as this is my hometown. I am elated and hoping to keep this form for my next game.”
Jayaram, ranked 24th in the world, was the more aggressive player against world no 5 Nguyen and dominated the Vietnamese shuttler near the net as well as away from it, especially in the second game in which the Indian was clearly the better player.