New Delhi, Jan 13: Hyderabad Hunters beat Delhi Acers 5-2 in the final league tie to advance into the semi-finals of Premier Badminton League 2017 at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium here on Thursday (Jan 12).
Hunters will now face Mumbai Rockets in second semifinals on Friday (Jan 13), while the Chennai Smashers will go up against table toppers Awadhe Warriors in a mouth-watering clash, which will pit the superstars of Indian badminton Saina Nehwal against PV Sindhu against each other.
Needing just three points to qualify for the knock-out stages, it was Carolina Marin who stood up to the expectations of her team and made the scoreline 4-2 and pave the way for her team with a game in hand.
Marin who has been in superb form throughout the league was entrusted with the responsibility of playing the trump match did not fail to deliver and beat Nitchaon Jindapol 15-14, 11-4. The win was enough for her team to take the last remaining spot.
Earlier in the day, starting the tie, it was two of India's rising star Siril Verma of Delhi Acers and Sameer Verma of Hyderabad Hunters who went up against each other in a men's singles match.
With each match, very crucial for both the team's chances to qualify for the knock-out stages, it was Sameer who started on an attacking note and went into the mid-game break with a lead of 6-3. However, after the break it was Siril, who turned the tides and dominated the proceedings to win the game 11-8.
In the second game, the Hunters' player made amends and unlike the last game did not waste his good start and won the game 11-3. In the deciding game, Sameer was again at his dominating best and made short-work of Siril to win 11-3 and help his team take a 1-0 lead and put Delhi's hopes to rest who needed to win the tie 6- (-1) to advance to the knock-out stages.
The second match of the tie saw Jwala Gutta/Vladimir Ivanov of Acers take on Hoi Wah Chau and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy of Hunters. The Hyderabad pair was on fire and did not lose much sweat and won the match 11-3, 11-4 to go 2-0 up and inflict further damage to Delhi.
Delhi pulled one back through Jan O Jorgensen as he beat Rajiv Ouseph 11-5, 11-7 in straight games to win tie the score 2-2.
Going into the last match of the tie with a 4-2 lead and the tie already in their pocket, Boon Heong Tan and Wee Kiong Tan of Hunters beat Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov11-9, 13-11 in the men's doubles match to finish the tie on high.