Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk showed nerves of steel to get the better of Mumbai Rockets trump, Anders Antonsen, in three games to help North Eastern Warriors their first win in the fourth edition of Vodafone Premier Badminton League at the Gachibowli stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.
The North Eastern Warriors, who had lost their opening tie against Ahmadabad Smash Masters 1-4, needed a win to get their campaign on track and it was the mixed doubles combination of Liao Min Chun and Kim Ha Na which got them rolling.
Liao and Kim gave little opportunity to Kim Gi Jung and Pia Zebadiah of putting up a fight with a perfect game plan to win 15-6, 15-13.
This meant that a lot depended on whether Tanongsak could upset Rockets’ trump to put his team on the road to victory.
The Thailand shuttler began strong and used his smash-tap routine to great effect against Antonsen to clinch the opening game. However, the Dane changed tactics in the second and engaged his opponent in longer rallies and forced the left-handed Tanongsak into committing unforced errors and force a decider.
Antonsen looked more comfortable in the first half of the third game and changed ends with a one-point advantage. But this is when Tanongsak managed to change gear and found a way to break the Dane’s defence to win 15-9, 10-15, 15-11.
Former national champion Rituparna Das then wrapped up the tie for North Eastern Warriors but not before Shreyanshi Pardeshi giving her a scare.
Das, who had upset Kristy Gilmour in their earlier encounter, was listed as the team trump and knew that she had to clinch the match to end any chance of a Rockets fightback.
Though she started strong, Pardeshi fought back well, chasing every shuttle and forcing Das to go for some expansive shots to find a winner and pocketed the opening game.
But the experience of Das made the difference from the second game onward, as the 22-year-old used her supple wrists and better understanding of the conditions to win the match 12-15, 15-10, 15-12 and give her team an unassailable 4-(-1) lead in the tie.