|Awadhe Warriors’ PV Sindhu
Bangalore: The P V Sindhu-spearheaded Awadhe Warriors on Saturday inched a step closer to a semi-final spot, after they defeated Mumbai Masters 3-2 in the inaugural Indian Badminton League here.
The contest between the two teams was close till the fourth match of the tie, but the mixed doubles brother-sister pair of M Kido and Pia Bernadeth of the Warriors finally brought cheers for their fans as they defeated Masters Ivanov Vladimir and Siki Reddy 21-19, 21-15 in the decider.
After this win, Warriors are placed at fourth on the table with 12 points from two wins and two loses in four ties. They will next play the second-placed Pune Pistons on Monday in Hyderabad.
Though Masters lost the tie, they are placed third on the points table with 15 points in five ties with two wins and three loses. Rising star PV Sindhu and Vladimir Ivanoh won their respective singles matches as Masters and Warriors were tied at 1-1.
The tall Russian, who has been in good form in the mixed doubles so far with his team-mate Sikki Reddy, started the proceedings for the Masters. Ivanoh rode on his powerful smashes and better placements to tame Gurusaidutt 21-18, 21-20, 11-9 in the first men’s singles match to give Masters a 1-0 lead over Warriors.
Sindhu then prevailed over Tine Baun 21-12, 19-21, 11-8 in the women’s singles match to guide Warriors to level the tie 1-1. In the third match, Markis Kido and Mathias Boe kept the hopes alive for the Warriors with a 21-16, 21-14 victory over Masters B Sumeet Reddy and Manu Attri in the men’s doubles competition to give their side a 2-1 lead in the tie.
Masters came back strongly with their iconic player Lee Chong Wei dismantling the talented Warriors youngster K Srikanth 21-15, 20-21, 11-5 in the second men’s singles match, which helped the team to equalise at 2-2.
The mixed doubles pair of Kido and Bernadeth finally brought cheers for Warriors fans as they defeated Masters Ivanov Vladimir and Siki Reddy 21-19, 21-15 in the fifth and final match, outwitting Masters 3-2 in the tie.
With fortunes swinging either way with each match, the tie proved to be one of the best in the tournament so far.
With the scores level at 2-2, the mixed doubles match became the decider.
The tall Russian Ivanov rode on his powerful smashes and better placements to tame Gurusaidutt in the first men’s singles match.
Ivanov was leading in the first game 7-4 at the first break, but Gurusaidutt turned the tables and gave a tough fight to the Russian and brought to level terms at 12-all. Ivanov, however, clawed back to take 20-18 lead and pocketed the next points to grab the first game 21-18.
In the second game, Gurusaidutt played an attacking game and opened up a 12-7 lead at the first break but Ivanov made it 19-all with some attacking strokeplay. Ivanov fought back brilliantly but the Indian was able to keep his nose ahead and clinched the nail-biting second game 21-20.