A day after the Ahmedabad Smash Masters confirmed their semi-final spot, former champions Delhi Dashers joined them in the last-four at the Premier Badminton League (PBL) 2018. Delhi sealed their spot after beating debutants North Eastern Warriors 4-1 at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
The Dashers did not have the best of starts to the tie as their mixed doubles pair of Vladimir Ivanov and Ashwini Ponnappa was beaten 13-15, 11-15 by the North Eastern pair of Shin Baek Chol and Michelle Li.
It all went downhill from there for the Guwahati franchise as they lost the next three matches, which also included their Trump match. World No. 11 Wang Tzu Wei was given the responsibility of the Trump and he took on Tian Houwei from the Delhi Dashers.
Tian Houwei makes a roaring comeback
In an enthralling encounter, the Chinese made a roaring comeback from 2-8 down in the decider to bag the 15-10, 8-15, 15-11 win that left Wang stunned. With that vital win, Houwei delivered a point to Delhi and pretty much set them up for a semi-final spot, which was eventually sealed by their own Trump, World No. 6 Sung Ji Hyun.
The Korean did not have it all her way when she squared off against the Warriors’ Michelle Li. The Canadian was pretty pumped up after her mixed doubles win and even snatched a game from her higher accomplished opponent in an incredible fashion.
Sung led 8-5 at the mid-game interval and looked very much on course to taking the opening game when Li overtook her and clinched the opener 15-13, much to the astonishment of the spectators. The former World No. 2, however, was able to regroup after that and showed her tremendous experience to register a 13-15, 15-11, 15-13 win.
The Delhi team also won the other men’s singles match of the day when Wong Wing Ki Vincent prevailed over Ajay Jayaram 15-13, 10-15, 15-12 after staving off a big challenge from the Indian.
Despite having their hopes of reaching the semi-finals dashed, the North Eastern Warriors finished the tie on a high when they reigned supreme in the men’s doubles match. The pair of Shin Baek Cheol and Kim Gi Jung upset the former All England Open champions Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov 9-15, 15-10, 15-9.Published 11 Jan 2018, 15:36 IST