Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are likely to take on each other on the opening day of the third edition of Premier Badminton League that kicks off with a tie between defending champions Chennai Smashers and Awadhe Warriors on December 23 in Guwahati.
While the previous two editions were played only over two weeks, the upcoming edition will be played over 23 days as the league has been expanded to an eight-team league after the introduction of two new teams. Only one tie has been lined up for each day and the move is expected to give players enough time to recover.
The badminton league, which will witness top names from across the world, will be played across five cities -- Guwahati, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai and Hyderabad. North East Warriors will make their tournament debut at home on the second day against Carolina Marin-led Hyderabad Hunters.
According to the fixtures, each team will play two matches at home. A total of 20 group stages matches will be played in single-legged round-robin format. Top-four teams at the end of the group stages will then progress to the semi-finals, which will be played in Hyderabad.
Each tie will have a total of two men's singles matches, a women's singles, a men's doubles and mixed doubles matches. One of these rubbers will be assigned "Trump Match" status and the team that wins the match will get two points, while the team losing it will be stripped off a point.
The 3x11 point system will be used unlike the traditional 3x21 for both singles and doubles matches.
Teams: Ahmedabad Smash Masters, Awadhe Warriors (Lucknow), Bengaluru Blasters, Chennai Smashers, Hyderabad Hunters, Delhi Acers, Mumbai Rockets, North Eastern Warriors (North East)
The likes of Sindhu, Saina and Carolina Marin have been adding a lot of buzz to the league over the last few years. The addition of world number one Tai Tzu Ying, who has won five Superseries titles in 2017, is only going to boost the popularity of the league.
Meanwhile, HS Prannoy was the costliest buy at the auction in October as the world number 10 was bought by newbies Ahmedabad Smash Masters for Rs 65 lakh. World number three Kidambi Srikanth, who won four Superseries titles in the year, was retained by Warriors for Rs 56.1 lakh.
|1||Chennai vs Lucknow||Saturday, December 23||Guwahati|
|2||North East vs Hyderabad||Sunday, December 24||Guwahati|
|3||Delhi vs Mumbai||Monday, December 25||Guwahati|
|4||North East vs Ahmedabad||Tuesday, December 26||Guwahati|
|5||Chennai vs Mumbai||Wednesday, December 27||Delhi|
|6||Delhi vs Bengaluru||Thursday, December 28||Delhi|
|7||Ahmedabad vs Hyderabad||Friday, December 29||Delhi|
|8||North East vs Lucknow||Saturday, December 30||Delhi|
|9||Delhi vs Hyderabad||Sunday, December 31||Delhi|
|10||Bengaluru vs Mumbai||Monday, January 1||Lucknow|
|11||Lucknow vs Ahmedabad||Tuesday, January 2||Lucknow|
|12||Chennai vs Delhi||Wednesday, January 3||Lucknow|
|13||Lucknow vs Mumbai||Thursday, January 4||Lucknow|
|14||Bengaluru vs North East||Friday, January 5||Chennai|
|15||Chennai vs Ahmedabad||Saturday, January 6||Chennai|
|16||Hyderabad vs Lucknow||Sunday, January 7||Chennai|
|17||Chennai vs Bengaluru||Monday, January 8||Chennai|
|18||Mumbai vs Ahmedabad||Tuesday, January 9||Chennai|
|19||Delhi vs North East||Wednesday, January 10||Hyderabad|
|20||Hyderabad vs Bengaluru||Thursday, January 11||Hyderabad|
|21||SF 1||Friday, January 12||Hyderabad|
|22||SF 2||Saturday, January 13||Hyderabad|
|23||Final||Sunday, January 14||Hyderabad|