Awadhe Warriors pipped Bengaluru Blasters 4-3 in Bengaluru on Monday evening and secured qualification for their second consecutive semi-finals.
Match 1: Sourabh Verma (BLR) vs Vincent Wong Wing Ki (AWD)
The first match of the evening witnessed the first men’s singles taking place as Bengaluru’s Sourabh Verma took on Awadhe’s Vincent Wong Wing Ki.
Vincent started the game with some strong shots, and assisted with some erroneous play form Verma, took a healthy 6-2 lead into the half in the first game. Vincent soon strolled into a 10-5 lead after the break, but Verma made an astonishing comeback and won five consecutive points to tie the game at 10-10. He then completed the turn-around by winning the next crucial points and take the first game by a 13-11 margin. Verma kept up with his good touch going into the second game and played some good intelligent badminton to take a 6-3 lead into the half. Vincent tried putting up some resistance, but Verma in the end proved too strong as he easily took the second game 11-7 and handed Bengaluru the first point of the evening.
Result: Sourabh Verma (BLR) beat Vincent Wong Wing Ki (AWD) 13-11, 11-7
Match 2: Sikki Reddy/Ko Sung-Hyun (BLR) vs Savitree Amitrapai/Bodin Issara (AWD)
The second match of the evening saw the mixed doubles encounter getting underway with the Warriors’ Savitree Amitrapai and Bodin Issara taking on Blasters’ Sikki Reddy and Ko Sung-Hyun. The Awadhe pair was off to a great start, racing to a 4-0 lead. They survived a fightback from Reddy and Hyun to lead 6-4 at the break. Savitree and Bodin stretched their lead after the break, reaching within one point of winning the game at 10-5. Then came another Reddy-Hyun comeback and it was looking eerily like the first game of the earlier Sourabh Verma-Vincent Wong Ki match. However, Savitree and Bodin avoided that to win the first game 11-9.
In the second game, Hyun and Reddy took the initiative as they took a 6-4 lead into the break. A string of errors from the Awadhe pair meant that Bengaluru sped away with the second game 11-4. The sequence of errors continued and this it came from the Blasters pair as Savitree and Bodin lead 6-2 at the interval. They prevented Hyun and Reddy from staging any sort comeback this time to take the game 11-5 and open Awadhe’s account in the match.
Match 3: Victor Axelsen (BLR) vs Kidambi Srikanth (AWD)
Match three of the evening saw the second men’s singles as world number three Victor Axelsen, representing the Blasters took on Kidambi Srikanth of the Warriors. Srikanth was playing his Danish opponent after a year and boasted a superior 2-1-win record over him.
The players matched each other stride for stride, but Srikanth was the livelier of the two as he took a slender 6-5 advantage into the break during the first half. Srikanth turned on the heat after the break to take a 10-6 advantage and even though Aexelsen tried to stage a late comeback, Srikanth kept his nerves to take the first game 11-9. Axelsen made a strong start to the second game, and even had a 5-2 advantage, but Srikanth replied strongly by overturning that deficit and himself taking a 6-5 lead into the break. He then showed superior net play and defence, as Axelsen looked uncomfortable throughout the game, allowing Srikanth to take the game 11-9 and win in straight sets. The result meant that Awadhe took the lead for the first time in the evening with a 2-1 margin and also making sure of their qualification for the semis.
Result: Kidambi Srikanth (AWD) beat Victor Axelsen (BLR) 11-9, 11-9
Match 4: Cheung Ngan Yi (BLR) vs Saina Nehwal (AWD)
It was time for the first of the Trump matches with Saina Nehwal taking on Cheung Ngan Yi. Awadhe had taken Trump and they had the opportunity to win the tie before the final match. Nehwal began well as she advanced to a 6-3 lead at the interval. With comebacks being the ‘theme’ of the tie, Yi roared her way back from 5-8 to win the first game 11-9 to send jitters down the Warriors’ camp.
Nehwal looked more determined than ever in the second game as she blazed away to a 6-1 lead. She mixed her game very well to give little chance to her opponent to race away with the second game 11-5. The former world number one continued to play some splendid shots to simply run away with the game 11-5 and clinch the tie for her team.
Result: Saina Nehwal (AWD) beat Cheung Ngan Yi (BLR) 9-11, 11-5, 11-5
Match 5: Ko Sung-Hyun/Yoo Yeon Seong (BLR) vs Goh W Shem/Markis Kido (AWD)
The tie culminated with the men’s doubles as the Blasters’ Korean pair of Hyun and Seong teamed up against the Warriors’ pair of Shem and Kido. The Blasters, banking heavily on the Korean duo’s chemistry, called for a Trump.
Shem and Kido started on the front foot and showed some good net play, taking a slender 6-5 advantage into the half in the first game. They then ran away with the game after the break playing some powerful shots, comfortably taking the first game 11-6. The Awadhe pair were their usual relentless self after the break and breezed into a 6-3 lead at the break in the second game. They then even had a 9-5 lead after the break but the Korean duo staged an amazing comeback playing some quick, powerful shots to overturn the deficit and take the game at 11-9. They took the momentum with them into the deciding game and stormed into a 6-2 lead at the half. The Blasters duo then played some deft badminton and closed out all openings for Shem and Kido as they took the game 11-6, and with that winning the match. However, it was not enough for Bengaluru as they lost the tie 3-4.
Result: Ko Sung-Hyun/Yoo Yeon Seong (BLR) beat Goh W Shem/Markis Kido (AWD) 6-11, 11-9, 11-6
Match Result: Awadhe Warriors beat Bengaluru Blasters 4-3