Sansomboonsuk delivers the decisive win in the final match
North Eastern Warriors pipped defending champion Bengaluru Raptors 4-3 in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) here on Tuesday.
With the contest tied at 3-3, it was the fifth tie — second men’s singles — that decided the outcome. Tanongsak Sansomboonsuk outplayed Brice Leverdez 15-7, 15-8 to spark celebrations in the Warriors camp.
Earlier, the men’s doubles Trump pair of Warriors got the team back on track as it came from 3-1 down to pull level. Bodin Isara joined hands with Lee Yong Dae, the London Olympics bronze medallist, to drub Arun George and Rian Agung Saputro 15-12, 15-6.
Despite his bulky frame, Bodin was unstoppable, attacking with gusto and pulling off some remarkable retrieves.
Chen Peng Soon, the 2016 Rio Olympic medallist, was the pivot as Bengaluru won the first match, the mixed doubles. Partnering Eom Hye Won, the Malaysian-South Korean duo put it across Lee Yong Dae and Kim Na Ha 15-8, 15-11 in the first rubber.
The second match, the men’s singles, between Sai Praneeth and Lee Cheuk Yiu fell flat as the 23-year-old from Hong Kong outplayed Praneeth 15-14, 15-9 as Warriors got their first point. The 23-year-old, ranked 18th in the world, seven spots below the Indian, has been in good form, shocking a few top 10 players.
In fact, in the Indonesia Masters early this month, Lee entered the semifinals with wins over Chou Tien Chen and Shi Yu Qi. He had won the Hong Kong Open last year, defeating Yu Qi, Viktor Axelsen and Anthony Ginting along the way.
Against Praneeth, he came up with jump-smashes and down-the line winners. His diving returns, when the point seemed lost, unnerved Praneeth.
As expected, World No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying, as Trump for Bengaluru, increased the lead (3-1) with a convincing 15-7, 15-5 victory over Ashmitha Chaliha. But it was Warriors’ Sansomboonsuk who had the last laugh.
North Eastern Warriors bt Bengaluru Raptors 4-3 (Lee Yong Dae & Kim Ha Na lost to Chan Peng Soon & Eom Hye Won 15-8, 15-11; Lee Cheuk Yiu bt Sai Praneeth 15-14, 15-9; Asmitha Chaliha lost to Tai Tzu Ying (T) 15-7, 15-5; Bodin Isara & Lee Yong Dae (T) bt Arun George & Rian Agung Saputro 15-12, 15-6; Tanongsak Sansomboonsuk bt Brice Leverdez 15-7, 15-8).
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