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25 May 2017, 08:17 HRS IST
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  • PTI
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  • Prannoy wins crucial match to help Mumbai get past Hyderabad

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22:14 HRS IST

Mumbai, Jan 4 (PTI) Mumbai Rockets recovered poise after losing their trump game to edge out Hyderabad Hunters 2-1 for their second straight victory in the Premier Badminton League, here tonight.

The Rockets dropped the trump game, the fourth of the rubber, to squander a 2-1 advantage into a 1-2 deficit before H S Prannoy did the star turn by clinching the deciding fifth match, the second men's singles tie against fellow-Indian Sameer Verma 11-6 11-7.

The narrow victory pushed the Rockets to the top of the league table after their crushing 6-0 victory over defending champions Delhi Acers last night in their lung-opener at the NSCI stadium here.

The Rockets won three out of five matches overall in the rubber against the Hunters. They won the opening men's doubles tie, the women's singles clash and the second men's singles match while Hunters won the mixed doubles and the first men's singles matches.

The feature match of the evening, however, was the women's singles clash between Spaniard Marin, the reigning World and Olympic champion who is currently world no. 2 and represents Hyderabad Hunters in the League, and Korean world no. 3 Sung of home team Mumbai Rockets.

Honours were even at the end of the first two games. Hyun who has a poor 1-6 win-loss head-to-head record against Marin, including a loss in the Rio Olympics quarter finals where the Spanish girl shrieked her way to the gold clinched the opening game 11-7 only to see Marin bounce back by winning the second with an identical score-line.

The decider produced the best badminton from both players with no quarters given or taken.

The rallies were prolonged at times with flat strokes skimming the net and also saw drops, smashes and attacking clears aplenty to keep the crowd happy and on its feet.

The Spanish girl, playing her third match in four days, looked to hold the upper hand when she led 6-4 at the change of ends, but the Korean girl never gave up and matched her younger rival stroke for stroke.

The fierce fight continued and Sung took an important lead at 9-8 which was neutralised by the left-handed Marin who used a drop and a flick to gain the point and level the scores.

Marin, who won five Super Series titles and the World Championship in 2015, held the first match-point in the oscillating game at 10-9 with the help of consecutive bodyline smashes.

But Sung fought back after the Spaniard netted to go 11-10 up and held her first match-point with an excellent drop shot. .

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