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Showing admirable composure, Rituparna, a former national champion, surged to a gritty 15-13, 15-12 win over the much-fancied Zhang of America in Warriors’ Trump match at the GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium here.
Commonwealth Games gold medallists Chris and Gabrielle Adcock then registered a 15-6, 15-9 win over Awadhe’s Christinna Pedersen and Ivan Sozonov to put Pune 2-0 ahead.
Earlier, Pune’s Hendra Setiawan and Chirag Shetty lost for the first time this season in a gruelling three-game encounter against Awadhe’s World No. 24 pair of Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol.
Shetty and Setiawan had been on a four-match winning streak but it was snapped by a gutsy show by the Awadhe pair, who came back to win 6-15, 15-9, 15-12.
In the fourth match of the tie, Singapore’s Kean Yew Loh prevailed 15-12 15-14 over Subhankar Dey to make it 3-0.
Ajay Jayaram then notched up a consolation win for the Warriors, beating Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai 6-15 15-10 15-13 in the fifth and final match of the tie.
Earlier, in her first-ever meeting with Zhang, the 23-year-old Rituparna refused to be intimidated by her higher-ranked opponent as she put in a performance to remember against the Awadhe Trump.
Rituparna exhibited her full repertoire of shots and rode on her exquisite placement of the shuttle to put Zhang in a spot of bother.
The Indian made the Awadhe ace run to every corner of the court, thus tiring out the American and then held her nerves to pull off the win in front of her roaring Pune 7 Aces team members.
“I just wanted to play it safe and ensure that I made no mistake. Coming into this match after a good performance against Michelle Li, my confidence was high. I am glad I was able to pull it off this time,” said Rituparna after her big win.