PBL Season 5: Five debutants who can make instant impact this year
The fifth edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) will begin on January 20. The defending champions Hyderabad Hunters led by PV Sindhu will face off against Chennai Superstarz in Chennai in the opening game. There will be a total of 24 matches which will be played in 21 days across three cities in this year’s edition of the tournament.
Here are all the squads of Premier Badminton League Season 5:
Kazumasa Sakai (Japan) – Former World No. 15 Kazumasa Sakai is pretty familiar with high level of competition having made it to the finals of the 2017 Indonesia Open and the 2018 Indonesia Masters. The Japanese would thus be looking to make a rich contribution in his first appearance at the league.
Chan Peng Soon (Malaysia) – The Raptors’ doubles attack will be bolstered by the presence of World No. 6 mixed doubles star, Chan Peng Soon, who will be appearing in the PBL for the very first time. The Malaysian remains one of the most revered figures in doubles with a host of important medals to show for. Multiple Commonwealth Games gold medals, an Asian Championships gold, an Olympic silver, and an Asian Games bronze among others give a picture of Soon’s storied career. Even this year, the 31-year-old achieved success at the Thailand Masters and the New Zealand Open and would look to carry that momentum into the league.
Tse Ying Suet (Hong Kong) – Pune 7 Aces certainly landed a jackpot when they managed to get the services of Hong Kong’s Tse Ying Suet. Armed with titles from the Korea Masters and the Taipei Open, the Asian Games and World Championships medallist is currently in a rich vein of form as evidenced by her World No. 10 ranking. Suet could go a long way in turning the tables in favour of Pune when the going gets tough.
Lee Cheuk Yiu (Hong Kong) – With a superb junior career that saw him win a bronze at the Asia Junior Championships and a silver at the Asian Youth Games, Lee Cheuk Yiu has finally come into his own. The 23-year-old made a stunning run to the title at home at the Hong Kong Open, having accounted for the likes of Kidambi Srikanth, Viktor Axelsen, Shi Yuqi and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting on the way. With the confidence that he gained from that victory, the Hong Kong shuttler, who is also the team’s costliest foreign player at 50 lac INR, is all set to mesmerize badminton fans when he takes the court for the PBL for the very first time.
Tak Ching Chang (Hong Kong) – Young doubles star Tak Ching Chang will be debuting at the PBL in Bengaluru colours. Chang made quite an impression at the Tata Open India International Challenge in 2018 in mixed doubles, where he made it to the final. Now with a top-30 mixed doubles ranking and loads more exposure on the tour, Chang will surely be ready for the PBL.
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- PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are among players who will feature in the three-leg Asia Series.
- Kenin lost to ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Svitolina lost to unseeded Russian Veronika Kudermetova 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3).