Hyderabad (Telangana): Delhi Dashers threw their hats into the semi-final ring of the third Vodafone Premier Badminton League by upstaging North Eastern Warriors in the first match of the Hyderabad-leg at the Gachibowli Stadium here on Wednesday.
Delhi won three matches, including the Trump tie, to garner four points and swell their points tally to 15 that saw them rise to the third spot. The Warriors, despite winning two matches, could add only one point to their kitty and finished the league with 12 points.
Tian Houwei led the Delhi charge by staging a brilliant recovery in his men’s singles duel against Tzu Wei Wang before winning 10-15, 15-8, 11-15. The Chinese, ranked 22 in the world, was down 2-8 in the final game but bounced back to clinch it 15-11 and upset the World No11.
Wang’s defeat was a big blow for the Warriors as it was their Trump match which meant they ended up with a negative point.
Interestingly, it was their first Trump loss of the season, having won all four earlier.
Sung Ji Hyun extended Delhi’s run by overcoming a defiant Michelle Li 13-15, 15-11, 15-13 in her Trump match. Sung Ji, The World No3 was the favourite to win but the Canadian almost caused an upset with her fighting display.
Michelle and Shin Baek Cheol had provided a bright start to the Warriors winning their mixed doubles duel against the Delhi pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Vladimir Ivanov in straight games 15-13, 15-11.
But Wing Ki Wong Vincent helped Delhi level the scores as he won the day’s first men’s singles against Ajay Jayaram 15-13, 10-15, 15-12.
The World No15 started off well by clinching a tight first game 15-13 only to find the Indian stage a fightback in the second with a combination of deft placements and effective smashes. Ajay, ranked 38 in the World pocketed the second game 15-12. The third game was evenly poised at 8-7 in favour of the 27-year-old from Hong Kong and he went on to consolidate it by surging ahead to a 12-8 lead.
Ajay was not finished yet as he collected four points in a row to reduce the margin to 13-12. But Wing Ki Wong capitalised on an unforced error from Ajay to won the third game and the match.
Wing Ki Wong was so delighted with his win that he pranced around the court and broke into a Usain Bolt-like celebration.
Kim Gi Jung and Shin Baek Cheol won the men’s doubles against Ivan Sozonov and Vladimir Ivanov 9-15, 15-10, 15-9 to ensure Warriors earned one point
On Thursday, Hyderabad Hunters will take on leaders Bengaluru Blasters in the last match of the league. (ANI)