Bengaluru: With second placed Awadhe Warriors and Chennai Smashers (third) already qualifying for the semi-finals, their faceoff would decide where momentum would lie going into the knockouts. The Smashers seized it in a 4-3 win over the Warriors in the last round of Premier Badminton League fixtures, on Wednesday.
International action kicked off the tie as the Smashers’ Thai ace Tanongsak Saensom-boon-suk took on the Warrior’s Hong Kong shuttler Wing Ki Vincent Wong. World no. 11 Tanongsak raced ahead in the first game with impressive combination play to clinch it 11-6. However, world no. 17 Wong rallied with his nifty play at the net to take the second 11-9.
He went on to hold his nerve using well-fashioned defensive strokes to combat the Thai’s baseline strength, winning the decider 12-10. Wong was ecstatic as he took his shirt off in front of a noisy crowd. Awadhe had drawn first blood.
In the mixed doubles’ action, the husband-wife duo of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock restored parity for Chennai, dispatching Bodin Isara and Prajakta Sawant 11-4, 11-9.
The first trump match of the night saw Parupalli Kashyap face Aditya Joshi. Kidambi showed his experience and nailed crucial smashes to take the first game 11-7. Joshi gave a great account of himself, racing 6-1 into the break in the second before routing Kidambi 11-5 to take the match into a decider. With the third game dead even at 6-5 at the break, Kidambi found an extra gear to seal the issue at 11-7.