Heartbreak for the Hunters despite Inspired Performances

A slow start, a close match, a stirring comeback, but disappointment to end the night! The Hyderabad fought valiantly against the Mumbai Rockets and showed a lot of grit & heart in their performance only to lose the tie 1-2 against an opposition that had swatted away Delhi Acers in their previous encounter.Heading into the encounter on Wednesday evening, the Mumbai Rockets were unbeaten in any of their games this season and Hyderabad were coming off a demoralizing 5-0 loss to the Awadhe Warriors. Mumbai began in emphatic fashion, with a win in the Men’s Doubles encounter 11-9 11-5. The Hunters pairing of Tan Boon Heong&Tan Wee Kiong admitted below par against the inspirational Lee Yong Dae&NipithphonPhuangphuapet. The Vodafone Super Match of the evening was a clash of the titans – pitting the world #2 against the world #3 in Carolina Marin &Sung Ji Hyun. And it produced a match for the ages, as both players shared the opening two games 11-7 each. The decider went all the way to the wire as both players reeled off some stunning shots as well as some great defensive play. Sung Ji Hyun held her nerve and she eventually triumphed 14-12 – and no one could deny that it was a razor thin margin that decided the match. Rajiv Ouesph took to the court against local lad Ajay Jayaram, while the team & the spectators still grappled with the loss of Carolina Marin. Rajiv kept things simple to win in straight games – 11-7 11-8. This brought the Hunters back into the tie with scores now at 2-1 in favor of the Mumbai Rockets.The final two games for the evening were the trump encounters and both teams had everything to play for going into the Mixed Doubles match up of Satwik Sai Raj&Chau Hoi Wah verses Lee Yong Dae&NadiezdaZieba. Lee Yong Dae was on court for the second time in the evening &Zieba in inspired form as they took the first game 13-11. It was a closely contested affair, which the Rockets pair just edged out.It was in the second game that SatwikSairaj really came into his own and reeled off a stunning sequence of shots to leave the Mumbai Rockets stunned. The more experienced and illustrious pair fought valiantly but it was an inspired youngster who made sure the game went to the Hunters 12-10. The decider of the contest was a Titanic encounter with neither team willing to throw in the towel. After 28-games, 4 match points apiece, SatwikSairaj got his team across the line. Arguably the game of the tournament so far, and the team celebrated with gutso. After a horrid start, it was Hyderabad who were up 2-1 at this stage and a trump to play. Victory in the tie seemed very much on the cards as Sameer Verma took to court against HS Prannoy and made a good start to lead at the mid-point break in the first game. But HS Prannoy had other ideas of his own, as he reeled off 7-points in a row to take the first game 11-6. The second game was a little more competitive but HS Prannoy wrested the trump back and with it the tie.Mumbai Rockets finished the tie 2-1 winners, but no one can deny that they hadn’t been given a monumental fight. Hyderabad Hunters can leave Mumbai with their heads held high but deep in their hearts they know that they need to win handsomely in the next two encounters to have a chance of progressing to the Semi-Finals.