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2016 Premier Badminton League: Mumbai Rockets beat Awadhe Warriors 3-0 to enter the final

A review of th second semifinal between the Mumbai Rockets and the Awadhe Warriors.

Saina Nehwal suffered her 1st defeat in the competition and that proved to be her death nail

The Mumbai Rockets beat the Awadhe Warriors 3-0 in the second semifinal at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad to join the Delhi Acers in the final of the Premier Badminton League on Sunday.

Here’s how all the action unfolded:t

1.Mixed Doubles: Vladimir Ivanov/Kamilla Juhl(MR) vs Bodin Issara/Christina Pederson(AW)

It was a high-intensity start from the word go as both pairs looked to get points via smashes  and it was Issara and Pederson who took an early lead, going 5-2 up. But a mixture od wide shots and unforced errors meant that the Rockets pair reduced the lead to 1 to make it 5-6. However, that didn't deter the Warriors pair and they went 8-5 ahead at the break.

The Warriors pair focussed on gaining points via smashes after the break as well so did the Rockets but the latter couldn't quite get the execution right consistently. But Ivanov and Juhl started to pull things back with some smart net play and equalised the score at 11-11 and then won 4 out of the next 5 points to win the opening game 15-12.

The second game saw Issara and Pederson take a 4-3 lead but they soon found themselves on the back foot as Ivanov and Juhl clinched 5 out of the next 9 points with some attacking play to go 8-7 up at the break. The second half of the game proved to be a topsy-turvy affair as both pairs continued to exchange leads, but at the 13-13 mark, it was Issara and Pederson, who won two points straight to  win the game 15-13 and take the match into a decider.

The decider started off with neither pair giving an inch but at the 4-4 mark, the Warriors pair clinched 4 out of the next 5 points to go 8-5 up. With a combination of good smashes and  down the line winners, the pair of Issara and Pederson took a 13-10 lead and looked good to seal the game  but the Rockets pair  made a terrific comeback, winning 4 out of the next 5 points to take the game to a sudden death. But a wide smash from Ivanov when it mattered the most, meant it was the Warriors who took the game and the 1-0 lead in the match. 

Final Scoreline- Bodin Issara/Christina Pederson beat Vladimir Ivanov/Kamilla Juhl 12-15 15-13 15-14.

2.Men’s Singles: HS Prannoy(MR) vs Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk(AW)

The game began with both players winning 2 out of their opening 4 points before the Thai, first courtesy a fine net smash and then an error from Prannoy took a 4-2 lead. Even though he continued to trail in the game Prannoy always kept the deficit under check but couldn‘t prevent the Warriors player from taking an 8-6 lead at the break. On the other side of the break, Saensomboonsuk kept the pressure up never allowing Prannoy to go in front at any point and eventually clinched the game 15-12.

Prannoy needed to get off to a good start in the second and at the 3-3 mark, took the lead before stretching it to 8-4 at the interval. The other side of the break saw the Indian further dominate proceedings and he eventually clinched it 15-7 to take the match into a decider.

The decider began on a very close note but at the 4-4 mark, the Indian clinched 4 out of the next 5 points to go 8-5 up at the break.  Courtesy some smart net play, the Indian sealed the game 15-9 to make it 1-1 in the tie.

Final Scoreline- HS Prannoy beat Tanongsak Saensomboonsak 12-15 15-7 15-9

3.Men’s Doubles: Vladimir Ivanov/Mathias Boe(MR) vs Cai Yun/Bodin Issara(AW)          

The opening game saw the Warriors pair start off in positive fashion as some smart net play from their side and unforced errors from their opponents end saw them take an 8-4 lead at the break. The other side of the break saw the Rockers use an attacking game and they levelled the score immediately to make it 8-8 before taking a 9-8 lead. They continued to stretch that lead after that and with a rapid smash, sealed the game 15-10 in their favour.

It was absolutely rivetting stuff at the start of the second game as both pairs failed to give an inch away but at the 4-4mark, the pair of Yun and Issara took the lead and eventually led 8-6 at the break.

The other side of the break saw a combination of fine play from the Warriors pair and thanks to some unforced errors from Boe and Ivanov they went 14-10 up before sealing the game eventually at 15-12.

The decider saw the pair of Yun and Ivanov take a 5-3 lead and at the 7-5 mark courtesy an unforced error from the Rockets, took an 8-5 lead. However, after the break, the Rockets pair made a strong comeback winning 5 out of the next 8 points to reduce the gap to 1 and then a few points later equalised the score at 13-13.  They then clinched the game in dramatic fashion, winning two straight points to seal the game 15-13 and with that the match as well.

Final Scoreline- Vladimir Ivanov/Mathias Boe beat Cai Yun/Bodin Issara 15-10 12-15 15-13.

4.Women’s Singles: Li Han(MR) vs Saina Nehwal(AW)[Trump Match called by AW]

The opening game saw the Chinese take the upper hand as she took a 4-2 lead to put pressure on the Indian and courtesy a few unlikely errors from Saina, went 8-6 in front at the break. The World No.2 continued to less than 100% in the game and Han took full advantage of that to win 15-8.

With her backs against the wall, the Indian had pull her best out and after an indifferent start to the second game, she slowly started to get back into the match  and after a tough fight, clinched the game 15-13 to take it into the decider.

However, in the deciding match, the Chinese brought her A game out and on the day, it proved to be too good for the Indian as she won the game 15-7 to inflict a maiden defeat on Saina in the competition and also seal the finals spot for the Mumbai Rockets.

Final Scoreline- Han Li beat Saina Nehwal 15-8 13-15 15-7

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