Saina, Srikanth lead Awadhe Warriors into semifinals


Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth won their respective matches as Awadhe Warriors beat Bengaluru Blasters 4-3 to seal a semifinal spot at the Premier Badminton Premier Season in Bengaluru on Monday.

Saina staved off a challenge from Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi in their women's singles trump match, while Srikanth stunned Rio Olympics bronze medalist Viktor Axelsen in a men's singles match.

Bengaluru had kept their hopes of making to the last four alive after Sourabh Verma had beaten Vincent Wong Wing Ki of Warriors to give his team an early 1-0 lead in front of a packed house at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium.

But mixed doubles combo of Savitree Amitrapai and Bodin Isara, Saina and Srikanth ensured that the Warriors comfortably reached the knockout stage.

After this win, Warriors lead the table with 18 points, while the Blasters are in the third spot with 11 points. Mumbai Rockets (16) and Chennai Smashers (10) are in the second and fourth place respectively.

Earlier in the day, Warriors' Wing Ki began on an attacking note and opened up a considerable lead in the opening game. With a lot at stake, Sourabh erased the deficit and won the game 13-11.

With the opening game in his pocket, Sourabh dominated the second game from the onset to eventually run away with the game 11-7.

In the second match of the tie, Amitrapai and Isara defeated Sung Hyun Ho and Siki Reddy of Blasters 11-9 4-11 11-5 in a mixed doubles encounter.

In the second men's singles, 2014 China Open winner Srikanth stunned World No. 3 Axelsen 11-9 11-9 to give a 2-1 lead to the Warriors.

Former World No. 1 Saina then eked out a come-from-behind 9-11 11-5 11-5 win over Cheung in the women's singles tie which was the trump match for the Warriors to grab two crucial points and make it 4-1.

Bengaluru's Sung Hyun Ko and Yeon Seong then managed to upstage Warriors' men's doubles pair of V Shem Goh and Markis Kido 6-11 11-9 11-6 in the last match of the tie, which was also the trump match for Bengaluru, to grab two crucial points but it was not enough.