Hyderabad, January 30: The fifth edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) 2020 is all set for the biggest showdown on Friday (January 31) as two of the world's best shuttlers, PV Sindhu and Tai Tzu Ying will face off against each other in the most-awaited clash between the last two year's champions, Hyderabad Hunters and Bengaluru Raptors at the GMC Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium.
With Tai and Sindhu orchestrating two of the most enthralling matches on the BWF World Tour last year, excitement for this encounter was high ever since the auction for the fifth edition of the league was held and both have termed the encounter as the toughest match.
Sindhu got the better of the World No. 2 on her way to clinching a historic gold medal at the World Championships and she is very much aware that the Chinese Taipei ace will be nothing short of a stiff challenge even at the PBL.
"Tai is always fun to play against. It's not going to be easy. But we'll be playing in front of our home crowd. Yesterday we had a few losses, but overall we won the tie. It's going to be a good fight tomorrow. I am really looking forward to it," said the world champion.
With the defending champions Raptors suffering a loss in each of their three ties so far, the former World No. 1 knows the importance of a win against the World No. 6. A win against Sindhu would be crucial to help turn around the fortunes of last year's champions.
"When you compare tomorrow's match with other matches we play on the Tour, this is a very different one. Because this is PBL, we have to work along with our team members so that the Raptors manage to get a win. It's very crucial for us to win this match," said Tai.
For Sindhu, finding her own confidence and conviction on the court is imperative. Despite Hyderabad Hunters starting their home leg with 2-1 victory against the North Eastern Warriors, the Rio Olympic silver medallist did not have the same fate. After a loss against World No. 10 Michelle Li, the Indian ace knows anything short of her best form won't suffice against somebody who has a 12-5 record against her.
"Yes, I lost yesterday but at the same time, it's important to move forward and look ahead. I will rectify my mistakes in my training session and am ready to focus on the next match," said Sindhu.
And the crowd support could be a deciding factor with the Hunters playing at home and Tai knows it really well. Confessing her love for India, the Chinese Taipei shuttler hoped she would get more support and fans come to cheer for her as well.
While on the court the two are intense rivals fighting hard for every point, the two share a great rapport outside it.
"On the court, we have a rivalry because both of us want to give our best and win the match. Outside we are great casual, normal friends and we share a great bonding with each other," revealed Sindhu.
While Sindhu vs Tai clash will be the cynosure of all eyes, the Bengaluru Raptors will be desperately hoping to end their winless streak and World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth's form could be a real difference-maker. Sai notched up his first win of the fifth season in the Raptors' most recent tie against Pune 7 Aces in Lucknow which should boost their confidence.
From Hyderabad's perspective, they would love to see World No. 42 Daren Liew takes his winning momentum from the Hunters' last match as they look forward to giving the home fans a treat.
Source: Media Release