PBL 2017 | Warriors beat Delhi to dethrone Chennal as table toppers

PBL 2017 | Warriors beat Delhi to dethrone Chennal as table toppers

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Awadhe Warriors notched up their second successive win in the Premier Badminton League with a 6-(-1) rout of Delhi Acers. The clash also saw Indian star Saina Nehwal secure her first win of the 2017 season when she convincingly overcame the challenge of Thai Nichaon Jindapon.

The match began with the men's doubles clash between Delhi's Vladimir Ivanov/Akshay Dewalkar and Warriors’ Goh Shem/Markis Kido. It turned out to be a one-sided affair as the Warriors pair decimated their opponents 11-4 in the opening game. The Delhi duo tried to claw back but could only keep pace with their opponents till 4-3 and only won one more point before losing the second game 11-4.

Warriors opted to use Nehwal's outing as their trump game as she went up against world number 27 Jindapol. The first game ran close as the players never let their opponent take a lead of more than two points. Nehwal was the first to reach a game point in the match but the Thai continued to push the Indian to the limit as she won two points in a row to set up a game point of her own. Nehwal eventually took the first game 13-11.

Jindapol raced to a 3-0 lead in the second only to find herself 5-4 down six points later. With Nehwal exhibiting some excellent shots from the backcourt and at the net, the Thai crumbled under pressure and lost 11-7. Warriors took a 3-0 with the win and it looked like it was Mumbai all over again for Delhi.

Kidambi Srikanth took on world No 2 Jan Jorgensen in the next . The see-saw battle saw the Indian get the better of his Danish opponent in the opening rallies to take a 3-2 lead. Jorgensen won the next three points in a row, but Srikanth responded by winning four on the trot. Just when it looked like Srikanth was closing out the first game at 9-6, Jorgensen drew level. But the Indian wasn't to be denied as he won the next two points to win the game.

The Indian raced to a 6-2 lead in the second game but three unforced errors and some aggressive play by Jorgensen saw the Dane draw level at 7. The world No 2, then, went on to earn himself a game point, but was denied by the Indian. 

It took Jorgensen two more game points to take the match into the decider as the match-up lived up to its billing. The third game was again a close one and the Indian found a way to beat the favourite 11-9 despite being down 8-9 at one stage.

Next up was the mixed doubles between Warriors’ Bodin Isara/Savitree Amitrapai and Vladimir Ivanov/Jwala Gutta. Warriors had already taken an unassailable lead in match and made it four games in a row. Delhi showed some resolve as they rallied from 7-10 down to level at 10 in the first game, but that was all that they could manage. Not only did they lose the first game 12-10, they succumbed to a humiliating 11-5 loss in the second.

The last match of the day was between world No 25 Vincent Wong Wing Ki and fourth-ranked Son Wan Ho. Due to the huge difference in the rankings, Delhi chose this game as their trump match. Everything went wrong for the Delhi team, though, as they finished with a score of -1 after Wan Ho was outclassed 11-8, 11-6.

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