LUCKNOW: A spirited Awadhe Warriors staved off a strong challenge from Ahmedabad Smash Masters 3-2 (4-3 on points) in the Vodafone Premier Badminton League in the packed BBD UPBA on Tuesday.
The win sent Awadhe to the top of the table with 12 points, while Ahmedabad are placed third with 11 points.
Going into the final match of the tie 3-3, the men’s doubles pair of Hendra Setiawan/Tang Chun Han prevailed over Kidambi Nandagopal/Lee Chun Hei Reginald 15-14, 15-10 to guide Awadhe Warriors to a slender 4-3 victory.
Earlier, World No.10 HS Prannoy began his new year in style as he registered a stunning victory over World No. 3 Kidambi Srikanth 15-8, 15-11 to keep Ahmedabad Smash Masters alive in the tie against Awadhe Prannoy who is unbeaten in the PBL since last season has now recorded his 10th successive win in the league, while Srikanth has crashed to his second consecutive loss of the season.
Prannoy who had beaten his country-mate to clinch his first national championship last year looked to be in stellar form and blitzed his way to an 8-2 lead at the break. Srikanth did try to stay in the match but could not muster enough and went down meekly in the opening game.
In the second game, the Denmark Open winner tried to get going in the match but Prannoy was clearly the better player on the court and raced to the victory in convincing manner.
“I am happy that I could ensure the much needed point for the team and to reach a double digit undefeated figure is always a special feeling,” added the Smash Masters Skipper at the end of the match.
In the marquee clash of the day, World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei got the better of World No.10 and local favourite Saina Nehwal 15-5, 15-14 to help Smash Masters restore parity in the tie. Saina looked nowhere close to her best and Tai Tzu took full advantage of her sluggishness. She won the opening game in no time.
Saina did try to comeback in the second game and put up a strong show. However, it was not meant to be her day and after stretching Tai Tzu to the limit in the game, she finally went down to dash the hopes of entire stadium who were cheering for her including Indian cricketer Suresh Raina who sitting at the Awadhe team dug-out.
Parupalli Kashyap maintained his good run of form to comeback from behind and beat Ahmedabad’s Smash Masters’ Sourabh Verma 11-15, 15-13, 15-14 to send Awadhe 2-0 ahead (3-0 points) in the early on in the tie.
Sourabh looked in great touch in the opening game and was hardly challenged by Kashyap. Even though the Awadhe showed sparks of brilliance on few occasions, Sourabh managed to dominate the proceedings to go 1-0 in the match.
The second game was a pulsating affair with Awadhe’s trump player Kashyap taking the challenge to his opponents. It was a closely fought affair and such was the intensity of the contest that the both the players dug-outs were on the edge of their seats and were wildly celebrating each points. Even though Sourabh gave it his all to send Kashyap packing early, the Awadhe player showed great determination to restore parity in the match and the send the entire stadium into frenzy.
Sourabh was quick to get off the blocks in the final game and raced to an 8-3 lead. After the interval, Kashyap launched a scathing comeback and tied the score 9-9. But Sourabh was in no mood to let go off the opportunity and raced to a 14-10 lead. Kashyap showed great resiliency and saved four match points to finally seal the match 15-14 after Sourabh found the nets.
Awadhe Warriors logged the first point of the tie after their mixed doubles pair Christina Pedersen/Tang Chun Man came from a game down to beat Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Law Cheuk Him 14-15, 15-12, 15-14.
Source : timesofindia