Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh): World No. 22 Tian Houwei of China beat Chennai Smashers’ Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 15-14, 15-10 to keep Delhi Dashers alive in the tie in the Vodafone Premier Badminton League played at the BBD UP Badminton Academy, on Wednesday here.
The tie is crucial for both the teams as a win will put them in a strong position to enter the knock-out stages.
With three matches played in the tie, Delhi Dashers have won two while Chennai has won one.
However, they are tied 1-1 on points as Delhi were penalised a point for losing their trump match.
In the first game, Houwei started off well and breezed to establish an 8-2 lead at the interval.
However, after the breather, Tian could not maintain his stronghold and Tanongsak fought his way back into the match as he snatched the lead from the former.
With a striking distance from winning the game, his errors helped Tian save three game points to win the opening game.
In the second game, Tanongsak was leading 8-5 mid-way, but he committed a string of errors which allowed Tian to get back into the match and eventually emerge victorious with 15-10.
In the second match of the day, Hong Kong’s Vincent Wong Wing Ki registered a comprehensive 15-10, 15-13 victory over France’s Brice Leverdez to reduce Delhi’s deficit in the tie.
World No.15 Vincent started off in a jiffy rush to an 8-2 lead in no time and it looked like he would win the game without facing much of a challenge.
Brice did improve gradually but could not stop the Hong Kong shuttler Vincent from taking the lead.
In the second game, Brice showed better determination and grit, but could not stop the Delhi juggernaut as Vincent made his way to victory.
In the lung-opener of the day, the Indo-Taiwanese men’s doubles combination of B. Sumeeth Reddy and Lee Yang scored a superb 15-13, 15-11 victory over the Russian trump duo of Ivan Sozonov and Vladimir Ivanov to help Chennai Smashers draw first blood of the tie.
The win saw Chennai log in their first point of the evening, while condemned Delhi to a -1 by the virtue of losing the trump match.
In the first game, the Chennai got off a good start rushing to a 3-0 lead.
However, the World No. 8 Russian went to 8-6 in the match.
After the break, the Delhi pair could not sustain their momentum and an error-prone play saw them go down in 0-1 in the match.
In the second game, Sumeeth and Yang grew into the game further combining well with the Taiwanese playing exceptionally well from the back court.
His deceptive drops and powerful smashes caught Ivan and Vladimir off-guard and they could never recover from the early 4-8 deficit and eventually crashed to their third defeat of the season.
In tomorrow’s clash, home team Awadhe Warriors will take on last year’s runners-up Mumbai Rockets.
Awadhe led by India’s Saina Nehwal have been in sublime and are currently at the top of the table with 13 points and will look to come out triumphant from the tie as a win tomorrow will all but seal their berth in the knock-out stages.
The Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 3 is the world’s richest prize money badminton tournament offering a prize worth Rs. 6 crores.
The inaugural match of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League took place on December 23, 2017 in Guwahati and the finale will be held on January 14 in Hyderabad.
Eight franchises – representing the cities of Delhi, Hyderabad, Awadh, Chennai, North-East, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bangalore – are competing. (ANI)