Saina, Srikanth lead Awadhe Warriors to easy win over Delhi Acers


Saina Nehwal defeated Nitchaon Jindapol as Awadhe Warriors smashed defending champions Delhi Acers 6-(-1) to register their second win in the second edition of the Premier Badminton League at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Lucknow on Thursday.

Later, Kidambi Srikanth beat world number two Jan O Jorgensen 11-9, 11-13, 11-9 to ensure Warriors' hold over the tie. Jorgensen had lost to Ajay Jayaram too in his previous match in the tournament.

The 26-year-old Saina outplayed Nitchaon 14-12 11-7 in a trump match to register her first win of the league and helped the Warriors win two points. By virtue of this win, Saina has extended her unbeaten run to eight games against the Thai shuttler.

Turning out in the second match of the tie, Saina was slow to start as she conceded a 2-5 lead to Nitchaon. After initial hiccups, Saina got her composure back and staged a comeback to draw level at 6-6. Saina then took two more points and seemed on course to run away with the match when Nitchaon made a comeback riding on her fine serve.

It was a neck and neck fight between the two shuttlers but in the end Saina kept a cool head to prevail over her opponent 14-12. In the second game, Saina was again slow to start off the blocks as Nitchaon took a crucial 3-0 lead. But the Indian slowly got back into the game and grew in confidence as the match progressed. The Indian dished out her exquisite forehand shots to win the game 11-7.

Saina's win in the trump match not only extended the Warriors lead but also earned them an extra point.

Earlier in the opening tie of the day, the men's doubles pair of Akshay Dewalkar and Vladimir Ivanov lost 4-11, 4-11 to Goh W Shem and Markis Kido to give the initial advantage to the Warriors.

The mixed doubles pair of Savitree Amitrapai and Bodin Isara got the better of Jwala Gutta and Vladimir Ivanov 12-10, 11-5 to hand the Warriors an unassailable lead.

In the last match of the tie, Vincent Wong Ki Wing of the Warriors beat Son Wan Ho 11-8, 11-6 in another trump game to complete the formalities.