Delhi Dashers registered a 4-1 win over North Eastern Warriors in Hyderabad on Wednesday and booked their place in the semifinal of the third season of the Premier Badminton League. Delhi now join Ahmedabad Smash Masters, Bengaluru Blasters and Hyderabad Hunters in the knock-out stages.
North Eastern Warriors managed to win both their doubles clash but failed to stop Delhi Dashers, who won all their singles duels, as they moved on the last four. Before Delhi's trump win with Sung Ji Hyun, Wing Ki Wong Vincent and Tian Houwei emerged victorious in their respective single’s matches.
Michelle Li surprised the fans by playing in a mixed doubles game alongside Shin Baek Cheol as the pair surprisingly managed to beat Delhi’s pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Vladimir Ivanov in the opener of the day. Li and Cheol took just 21 minutes to win the game 15-13, 15-11 to give their team a 1-0 lead.
The second game of the day was a men’s singles encounter where Delhi’s Vincent played against Warriors’ Ajay Jayaram and the latter opened the point tally for his team by beating the Indian 15-13, 10-15, 15-12.
The World No. 15 showed a holistic display on the court in the first game which included a perfect quantity of smashes and delectable drops. In the second game of the match, Vincent seemed much relying on the net dribbles that gave a chance to the Indian shuttler to come back in the match and eventually win the second game, forcing the match to enter the decider. In the final game of the match, the Indian shuttler failed to continue his form after equaling seven-all, as Jayaram was fumbling with his net dribbles that made it all the easier for Vincent.
The third game of the day was another men’s singles encounter where Houwei followed his team-mate Vincent’s path and handed loss to Wang Tzu Wei, who was North East Warriors' trump card, 15-10, 8-15, 15-11. The World No. 22 turned the table as he shocked the World No. 11, raising hope for his team.
Houwei didn’t waste time to win the first game but it alerted Wei, who cleverly changed his strategy in the second game and played mostly from the centre so that he can easily cover the gaps that forced the game into the decider. In the third game, the Chinese ace showed terrific comeback as he managed to win the game despite trailing 2-9 and handed the first trump loss to the Warriors in the season so far.
It was a women’s single’s encounter next where Hyun put the final nail in North East’s coffin as she won Delhi’s trump game against Li 13-15, 15-11, 15-13. After losing the first game, Hyun came back in the second and forced it into a decider where Li fought hard. However, the Korean used her experience and kept her nerves, which eventually helped the Delhi team to secure the semifinal berth.
The day ended with a mixed doubles clash where Kim Gi Jung and Shin Banek Cheol registered a consolation win for the Warriors as they handed a defeat to Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov 9-15, 15-10, 15-9.