PBL 2018 | Saina Nehwal leads Awadhe Warriors to second straight win

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PBL 2018 | Saina Nehwal leads Awadhe Warriors to second straight win

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SportsCafe Desk

12/31/2017

Saina Nehwal endured an intense three-game battle against Michelle Li before coming out on top with a 6-15, 15-13, 15-13 win to give her team a 4-3 victory against North Eastern Warriors in the PBL 2018. However, Awadhe’s Kidambi Srikanth lost his match to Wang Tzu Wei in the men's singles match.

Saina, who trailed 0-5 early in the first game, won her first point with a rock solid smash but continued to trail 2-8 at the break. World No 21 Li didn’t give any chance to Saina of making any comeback in the game and won the first game 15-6. However, Saina came back strongly in the second game with a 3-1 lead before making three unforced errors that handed the lead to Michelle. However, after going to the break with a slender one-point lead, she was completely dominant in the game and made sure that the game entered the decider by taking the second game 15-13. In the third game, Saina surged ahead with a 6-1 lead and headed into the break with an 8-3 lead. Although Li accelerated her game after the break and reduced the deficit to 8-9, Saina survived some anxious moments to clinch the game 15-13.

Parupalli Kashyap put Awadhe Warriors in a good position by producing a stunning performance to upset compatriot Ajay Jayaram 15-9, 15-12 in the first men's singles encounter of the match. Kashyap raced to a 5-1 lead against World No 38 Jayaram and went into the break with a healthy five-point advantage. Jayaram's error of judgment bettered Kashyap's lead to 9-3 as he came up with a running cross-court smash before sealing the first game 15-9. Jayaram struggled to find his rhythm against Kashyap in the second game as well as the latter secured a 4-0 lead before taking an 8-4 lead at the break. Although Jayaram picked the pace after the break, Kashyap used all his experience to win it 15-12.

In another men’s singles encounter, World No 11 Wang Tzu Wei stopped Awadhe Warriors' juggernaut as he stunned Kidambi Srikanth 10-15, 15-9, 15-6 in the second men's singles match to open North Eastern account in the match. Srikanth got off to a brilliant start in the first game, moving ahead 8-4 at the break and continued to dominate the proceedings and won the first game comfortably at 15-10. However, he failed to get going in the second game as he trailed 4-8 at the mid-game interval while Wang Tzu played some effortless shots to take the second game 15-9. The Taiwanese player carried on from that and tamed Srikanth 15-6 in the last game to secure a point.

North Eastern Warriors men's doubles pair Kim Gi Jung and Shin Baek Cheol also finished the proceedings on a good note defeating Hendra Setiawan and Tang Chun Man 15-10, 15-12 to win their team's Trump match. 

Awadhe Warriors selected their mixed doubles pair of Tang Chun Man and Christinna Pedersen to play the Trump match for the team and the duo justified the decision by securing two points after registering a hard-fought 15-14, 15-13 victory.

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