Awadhe Warriors displayed yet another dominating performance to beat Delhi Acers 6-(-1) in the second edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium .
With the win, Awadhe Warriors now have won nine out of 10 matches and establish themselves as a clear favourites.
Before the start of the tie, all eyes were set on ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal, who was looking to bounce back after a disappointing start.
With a lot riding on the Hyderabadi shuttler, she not only defeated Nitchaon Jindapol of Acers 14-12, 11-7 in a trump match but also helped the Warriors take a 3-0 advantage over the Acers.
With the win, Saina has extended her unbeaten run to eight games against the Thai shuttler.
Playing in the second match of the tie, Saina was slow to start as Nitchaon dominated the opening moments of the game taking a 5-2 lead.
The Hyderabadi shuttler, however, after initial hiccups recovered well and won a few crucial points to tie the scoreboard 6-6.
She then took two more points and with the scoreboard looking 8-6, it seemed like Saina was just about to break away. But Nitchaon did not let her opponent off the hook and soon found her serving for the game.
However, she faltered and Saina took advantage to save the game. It was turning out to be a great battle with both the players not giving anything to each other but it was Saina who finally prevailed winning the first game 14-12.
In the second game, the Indian shuttler was slow to start again and Nitchaon took a crucial 3-0 lead at the start, but Saina slowly began to come into her element.
She started to move better than the first game and as the match progressed she just grew into the match playing some exquisite shots which Nitchaon did not have any answers to.
Nitchaon put up a spirited show but Saina prevailed eventually to win the game 11-7. The win not only saw Warriors win both their matches in the tie, but also gave them an extra point as it was a trump match for them.
In the other match between Srikanth and Jorgensen, the Guntur player defeated Jorgensen 11-9, 11-13, 11-9.
Starting the match, Srikanth was quick off the blocks and seized the early opportunity and opened up a considerable lead.
Jorgensen, however, was not someone who would take down a beating lying on the ground. He fought back and soon made the lost grounds matching Srikanth move for move.
But Srikanth who was looking in supreme touch eventually won the game 11-9.
Jorgensen made a comeback in the next game and took the game 13-11.
With the match tied 1-1, a cracker of a decider was on the cards and it did prove to be an exciting contest with Srikanth finally winning 11-9 and help his team seize a lead of 4-0 in the tie.
Earlier in the day, the first match saw men’s doubles action with V Shem Goh and Markis Kido of Warriors beat the pair of Akshay Dewalkar and Vladimir Ivanov of Acers 11-14, 11-4 to start on a positive note.
In the mixed doubles encounter, Warriors pair of Bodin Issara and Savitree Amitrapai beat Jwala Gutta and Vladimir Ivanov of Acers 12-10, 11-5 to stretch the lead to 5-0.
In the final match of the tie, Son Wan Ho of Acers made took on Vincent Wong Wing Ki of Awadhe Warriors.
It was a last chance for the Acers to salvage some pride out of the tie and reduce some damage as it was their trump match. But Wing Ki had other plans and he beat Son Wan 11-8, 11-6 to complete the rout.
After the end of day’s play, it was Awadhe Warriors who are leading the standings with 11 points.
Chennai Smashers are second on the table with eight points, while Mumbai who is also on eight points are in the third place, only because of their poor record in the trump matches as compared to Chennai.
Hyderabad are in the fourth place with five points as well. They trail Warriors by the virtue of more ties played.