One of the most awaited matches of the inaugural Indian Badminton League (IBL) turned out to be a damp squib as Saina Nehwal trampled PV Sindhu 21-19, 21-8 at the Siri Fort Complex.
The Olympic bronze medalist was too good for Sindhu, a bronze medalist at the recently held World Championships in Guangzhou.
The first game was a closely contested affair but the 18-year-old Sindhu lost the plot in the second.
Saina's win gave Hyderabad Hotshots side a 2-0 lead against the Awadhe Warriors of Lucknow, after Thai player Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk beat Gurusaidutt 15-21, 21-14 and 11-9 in the first men's singles.
The Lucknow side albeit hit back in the men's doubles, the Indonesian-Danish combine of Markis Kido and Mathias Boe besting the Malaysian duo of V Shem Goh and Khim Wah Lim 21-14, 21-20.
And K Srikanth leveled it for the Warriors with a 21-17, 21-19 win over Ajay Jayaram, in just 36 minutes.
Meanwhile, world no.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia will miss his first game for Mumbai Masters against Banga Beats later today.
Touted as the biggest match of the day, the clash between Saina and Sindhu turned out to a one-sided affair as the London Olympics bronze medallist showed why she is considered the badminton queen of India as she beat her junior rival in the second match of the opening rubber.
While Sindhu looked a faint memory of her dominating self which earned her the reputation of being a giant-killer, Saina's game did not reflect the fact that she could not win a single title this year and also failed to win a medal at the World Championship in China.
Sindhu, who beat two Chinese in the run up to her bronze medal-winning feat at the recently concluded World Championship, dominated the proceedings early on as she used her deceptive drops and angled slice to bamboozle Saina.
Sindhu enjoyed a healthy lead in the first two breaks. The young Hyderabadi was leading 7-3 in the first interval and then kept a 14-10 distance in the second break.
But Saina, who was depending more on her baseline down the line smashes till now, changed gears and clawed back with some immaculate body smashes and then marched ahead at 17-15. Sindhu kept her cool and grabbed two quick points to make it 17-17 but she lost a point at the net to hand over the lead to Saina again.
Egged on by the vociferous crowd, the 23-year-old moved to a two-game point lead and although she lost a game point, she sealed the issue in her favour with a smash. In the second game, Sindhu could not play her natural game. She looked completely off-colour and struggled with her strokes. She committed many unforced errors as Saina led 7-4 and 14-6 in the first two intervals.
Sindhu could not break Saina's rally game and surrendered rather meekly in the end as the latter shut the doors on her younger colleague with a powerful smash.
"Sindhu gave me a tough time in the beginning but the cheer from the crowd really helped me in giving my best and I hope I can continue to live up to the expectations of the crowd and my team," Saina said after her match.
"The way Sindhu plays, I'm sure she has a bright future ahead," she added.
Hyderabad Hotshots notched up a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Awadhe Warriors in the inaugural Indian badminton League.
Hyderabad allowed Warriors to lock the tie 2-2 after taking a 2-0 lead but Pradyna Gadre and Shem Goh V sealed the contest for Hyderabad by winning the deciding mixed doubles.
Coming into the make-or-break match, Pradyna Gadre and Shem Goh V recorded a 21-9, 19-21, 11-8 win over Markis Kido of Indonesia and Thailand's Sapsiree Taerattanachal.