Premier Badminton League 2017: Awadhe Warrors ride on Saina Nehwal's heroics to reach semis

Bangalore: London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and 2014 China Open champion Kidambi Srikanth won their respective matches as Awadhe Warriors beat Bengaluru Blasters 4-3 to seal their semifinals spot at the Premier Badminton Premier Season 2, in Bangalore on Monday.

Saina Nehwal at the PBL 2017 against Bengaluru Blasters. Image courtesy:  Twitter/@PBLIndiaLive

Saina Nehwal at the PBL 2017 against Bengaluru Blasters. Image courtesy: Twitter/@PBLIndiaLive

Saina staved off a challenge from Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi in their women's singles trump match, while Srikanth too stunned Rio bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen in another men's singles match to guide the Warriors home.

Bengaluru Blasters had kept their hopes of making to the last four alive after Sourabh Varma had beaten Vincent Wong Wing Ki of Awadhe Warriors to give his team an early 1-0 lead in front of a packed house at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium.

But the mixed doubles combo of Savitree Amitrapai and Bodin Issara, and star shuttlers Saina and Srikanth ensured that the Warriors comfortably reach the knockout stage.

After this win, the Warriors grabbed the top position on the table with 18 points, while the Blasters are in the third spot with 11 points. Mumbai Rockets (16) and Chennai Smashers (10) are at the second and fourth place respectively.

Earlier in the day, Warriors' Wing Ki began on an attacking note and opened up a considerable lead in the opening game of the men's singles. With lot at stake, Sourabh slowly got his act together to erase the deficit and win the game 13-11.

With the opening game in his pocket, Sourabh dominated the second game from the onset to eventually run away with the game 11-7.

In the second match of the tie, Amitrapai and Issara took the court and the pair immediately brought their team level after they defeated Sung Hyun Ho and Siki Reddy of the Blasters 11-9 4-11 11-5 in the mixed doubles encounter.

In the second men's singles, 2014 China Open winner Srikanth then stunned World No 3 Axelsen 11-9 11-9 to give a 2-1 lead to the Awadhe Warriors.

Former World No 1 Saina then eked out a come-from-behind 9-11 11-5 11-5 win over Cheung in the women's singles tie which was the trump match for the Warriors to grab two crucial points and make it 4-1.

Bengaluru's Sung Hyun Ko and Yeon Seong then managed to upstage Warriors' men's doubles pair of V Shem Goh and Markis Kido 6-11 11-9 11-6 in the last match of the tie, which was also the trump match for Bengaluru, to grab two crucial points but it was not enough.


Published Date: Jan 09, 2017 11:18 pm | Updated Date: Jan 09, 2017 11:18 pm


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