Hyderabad Hunters registered 3-0 win over Delhi Dashers in the first semifinal match at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, thanks to Carolina Marin and Sai Praneeth who won both the trump match of the day. In second semifinal Bengaluru Blasters will face Ahmedabad Smash Masters today in Hyderabad.
The first tie of the day was a mixed doubles encounter where Hyderabad’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Pia Zebadiah Bernadet started the game against Ashwini Ponnappa and Vladimir Ivanov. The Delhi pair started the day on a positive note as they helped in opening the score tally for their team after registering a win 13-15, 15-10, 15-10.
It was Praneeth who made the way for his team to enter in the final as he played the day’s second encounter which was men’s singles and it was a trump game for Delhi who sent Tian Houwei of China. The Delhi player seemed to be struggling from the start of the game which gave the Indian a chance to maintain his lead as he stormed into a five-point lead at the break 8-3. The Chinese shuttler managed six more points but Praneeth who seemed in hurry ended the first game of trump match 15-9.
The Indian, who was playing in front of his home crowd, started the second game in a style as he got a point after a brilliant rally. Till the mid-game interval, the Hyderabad lad held his lead at 8-5. Tian had no answer of Praneeth’s performance who used the whole court with quick feet movements and won the second game 15-8. The game result helped the host to open their account while the Delhi ended up losing their point earned after winning the opener.
The third and last game of the day was women’s singles encounter and it was a trump game for the Hunters who decided to send Marin against South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun. It was not a dream start for Hyderabad as Marin seemed struggling to control the shuttle and finding her rhythm. Hyun entered in the break with an 8-4 score and soon finished the first game with 15-12. The win raised the hope and gave a lifeline to Delhi fans while it was the first time when Marin has lost a game in the entire season of PBL season 3.
Marin began her second game more confidently as she raced to a 4-0 lead. Hyun tried to counter-attack with strong smashes but the Hyderabad player showed her terrific reflexive returns. The match entered the decider after Marin won the second game comfortably 1t 15-10.
Marin had found her momentum in the second game which she continued in the decider as well and it’s hard to stop the Spanish player when she in form. Marin had a five-point lead at the break 8-3. Hyun failed to come back in the game as the Olympic champion sealed the game 15-9 and the tie as well as the addition of two more points in their team’s tally.
The win booked Hyderabad’s place in the final where the team will face the winner of the second semifinal which will be played between Bengaluru Blasters and Ahmedabad Smash Masters on January 13.
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