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