Bengaluru Raptors beats Awadhe Warriors 4-2, books final berth

Bengaluru Raptors won the first semifinal 4-2 against Awadhe Warriors, with the men's doubles victory helping seal its place in Sunday's final.

Kidambi Srikanth of Bengaluru Raptors in action.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Good evening! The first semifinal of this Pro Badminton Season sees Awadhe Warriors taking on Bengaluru Raptors at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru.

You can catch all the live updates from today's match here.

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Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan beat Mathias Christiansen/Yang Lee (Awadhe Warriors) 15-14 15-9 and take Bengaluru Raptors, which wins the tie 4-2, into the PBL 2018-19 final.

9-15 Game and match, Bengaluru Raptors!

7-14 A jump smash down the middle from Mohammad Ahsan, giving Bengaluru Raptors game point.

6-13 A forehand unforced error from Hendra Setiawan.

4-12 Mohammad Ahsan forces a backhand error off Mathias Christiansen with a body smash, taking Bengaluru Raptors closer to the win.

4-11 A well-disguised drop shot from Hendra Setiawan, with both Awadhe Warriros players deep in their court.

4-10 A forehand unforced error from Mathias Christiansen.

4-9 A forehand winner from Setiawan to fortify Bengaluru Raptors' position in the match.

4-8 Bengaluru Raptors takes a four-point lead into the second game of its Trump Match.

4-7 A forehand error from Yang Lee.

3-6 A backhand error from Mathias Christiansen.

2-5 An unforced error from Yang Lee.

2-4 Hendra Setiawan produces a forehand cross court winner to give Bengaluru Raptors a slender lead in the second game.

2-3 A forehand winner from Hendra Setiawan.

2-1 Mathias Christiansen forces a backhand error with a body smash.

0-1 A forehand unforced error from Mathias Christiansen, who smashes the net in going for a forehand winner.

Second game.

14-15 A backhand error from Mathias Christiansen hands the first game to Bengaluru Raptors.

14-14 Awadhe Warriors pulls level.

13-14 A forehand winner from Mathias Christiansen.

11-14 Mohammad Ahsan's forehand catches the outer edge of the sideline, giving the Bengaluru Raptors game point.

10-12 A backhand unforced error from Hendra Setiawan.

9-12 Mathias Christiansen with a forehand cross court winner.

8-11 A forehand error from Mathias Christiansen. Hendra Setiawan produces a 388 kmph jump smash, which forces an error off Christiansen.

7-10 Another forehand unforced error from Yang Lee from the back of the court.

7-9 Back to back forehand unforced errors from both teams.

6-8 A backhand error from Hendra Setiawan (Bengaluru Raptors).

5-8 A Bengaluru Raptors' pair takes a three-point lead into the mid-game break.

4-7 A forehand winner from Mathias Christiansen, who went for broke and managed to produce the winner.

4-5 Yang Lee is livid with himself. He makes another unforced error and Bengaluru Raptors take the lead for the first time in the match.

4-3 Mathias Christiasen produces a forehand winner to put Awadhe Warriors back in the lead.

3-3 A forehand unforced error from Yang Lee this time.

3-1 A forehand unforced error from Mohammad Ahsan (Bengaluru Raptors).

1-0 An explosive rally to begin proceedings! It was a 33-shot rally which Awadhe Warriors wins, courtesy a body smash from Mathias Christiansen forcing a forehand error.

Next up is the men's doubles match between Yang Lee/Mathias Christiansen (Awadhe Warriors) and Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (Bengaluru Raptors). This is a Trump Match for the latter.

Kidambi Srikanth beats Son Wan Ho (Awadhe Warriors) 15-7 15-10 and draws Bengaluru Raptors level 2-2 in the semifinal.

15-10 A service fault from Son Wan Ho hands game and match to Srikanth.

14-10 Srikanth smashes the net with his forehand.

14-9 A forehand unforced error from Son Wan Ho hands Srikanth game point.

13-9 A jump smash down the line from Srikanth to extend his lead.

12-9 A backhand error from Son Wan Ho.

11-9 A revival of sorts from Son Wan Ho here. He forces another backhand error off Srikanth, this time with a body smash.

11-8 Son Wan Ho forces a backhand error off Srikanth with a ferocious forehand smash.

11-6 A backhand winner from Son Wan Ho.

11-5 Make it 14 for the match! Srikanth extends his lead with the 14th forehand winner of the match.

10-5 A forehand unforced error from Son Wan Ho; smashes the net.

9-5 A backhand unforced error from Srikanth.

9-3 A forehand winner from Srikanth.

8-3 A backhand winner from Srikanth going into the mid-game break in the second.

5-3 A forehand cross court winner from Srikanth.

4-2 A backhand unforced error from Son Wan Ho.

3-2 Son Wan Ho's forehand is long.

2-2 A forehand unforced error from Srikanth.

2-1 Son Wan Ho's forehand is wide. He goes for the forehand cross court winner, but drags it marginally wide.

1-1 Srikanth's forehand is long, over the baseline.

1-0 Srikanth opens his account with a cross court forehand which Son Wan Ho can't return.

Second game.

15-7 Srikanth wraps up the first game.

14-7 A forehand unforced error from Srikanth: he goes for the cross court winner, but drags his shot marginally wide.

13-4 A backhand cross court winner this time, from Srikanth, who has completely dominated Son Wan Ho this game.

12-4 Another thumping forehand smash from Srikanth, leaving Son Wan Ho flat-footed.

10-4 A well-dsiguised forehand drop shot from Srikanth, catching Son Wan Ho short. The Indian's in sublime form!

8-3 Another ferocious forehand from Srikanth gives him a five-point lead at the mid-game break.

5-3 A forehand cross court winner from Srikanth.

4-3 Srikanth responds with a ferocious forehand of his own, forcing a backhand error off Son Wan Ho.

3-3 A forehand winner from Son Wan Ho. Both players proving strong on their forehand side.

1-0 A jump smash down the line from Srikanth to get off the mark.

• Another singles match next: Son Wan Ho vs Kidambi Srikanth.

15-4 And Praneeth wins his sixth match in a row. The Indian was at his best and it was a one-sided tie from the start. Bengaluru Raptors wins the first game of the semifinal and pull back a point. Down 2-1 in the tie and will take heart from Praneeth's performance.

14-4 Lee picks his first point after the break. Praneeth was playing around in that rally, having fun by the look of things.

14-3 Game and point to Praneeth.

13-3 A 349 kmph smash from Praneeth and, well, you know who took the point from that.

12-3 Praneeth's adjustment to whatever Lee has thrown at him has been fantastic today. And as he has done in both the games, he finishes the rally with a smash.

10-3 Nothing is going Lee's way here. What looked like a good call to let a return go turns on its head. The shuttle drops and lands well inside the line.

9-3 Praneeth on the attack from that start this time and takes a point with a smash from the net.

8-3 Lee goes wide at the baseline and Praneeth is easing towards taking this game too. And the match. Lee has been good in patches but the Indian is in good form today.

6-3 Three tumbles at the net from Praneeth. That was so slow and so close to the net that there was no way Lee could have gotten a return even if he had all the time in the world.

5-1 Lee is losing the plot? He hits a return that goes behind him!

4-1 Praneeth's net play at its best again. Drop shot out of nowhere and Lee goes to ground to try and get the return but he's nowhere close.

2-1 Blistering return from Praneeth. Gets to a smash from Lee somehow and the Korean could barely regroup after the smash before Praneeth's return came in.

Game two: 1-0 Patient play from Praneeth. Waits for an error from Lee in the rally and the Korean goes long to give the home team the first point.

9-15 Praneeth takes the first game, almost at ease. He started well but Lee has shown that he is up for the fight at the end of that game. It came too late but he can come back in this match if he takes that form into the second game.

9-14 Lee waits for his chance in a long rally and at the first chance of  mistake from Praneeth, takes the point.

8-14 Game point to Praneeth.

8-13 Well played by Lee. He makes Praneeth run around in the 33 shot rally and ends by going to the other side of Praneeth, just after making him go to ground to get to a return right before that.

6-13 Praneeth goes cross court, Lee is grounded and gets another point.

6-12 Precision play from Praneeth. He is on song at the moment and another smash, at 322 kmph, gives him the point.

6-11 Backhand drop shot followed by a smash at the net from Praneeth. Showing intent here as he closes in on the game.

6-10 And again.

6-9 Well left from Praneeth.

5-8 Praneeth smash, point to Praneeth. And again. Rinse, repeat. And a three point lead at the break.

5-6 Wonderful smash into Lee's body from Praneeth. Takes the initiative to attack after being on the defensive for a while and grabs the point.

4-5 Another cross court smash, this time from the baseline, and another point for Praneeth. The second forehand winner of the game from the Indian.

4-3 Beautiful work from Praneeth to end the 28 shot rally with a cross court smash. He built up the play to make that opening for himself.

4-2 A 31 shot rally ends with Praneeth making the wrong call to let a return go long. He lands on the line and gives Lee the two point lead again.

2-1 Lee goes for a challenge on what looks like a straightforward call and he loses his challenge. That seemed like an unnecessary challenge to make.

2-0 Beautiful flick into the corner and that's a two point lead at the start for Lee.

Match two, game one: 1-0 Lee starts with a smash into Praneeth's body.

• Sai Praneeth lost the first game and is on a five match winning streak since then.

• After losing his first three games, Lee Dong Keun found some form by winning his next three.

• The second match of the day is the men's singles: Lee Dong Keun vs Sai Praneeth.

15-10 Out of the court and Awadhe Warriors takes its trump match in style. The pair has sailed through the match without much problem and the table topping team is in control of this semifinal.

14-10 Spoke too soon. She gets engaged at the net and from the first return, hits a smash from the net and that's game and match point.

13-10 Looks like Bengaluru pair has learnt a lesson. Mathias is engaged at the baseline throughout, with Ashwini just looking on from the net. The Dane tires out and gives the Raptors the point.

13-9 Mathias says no. Comes to the net, jumps and smashes into the ground.

12-9 Two errors from Mathias and Bengaluru Raptors pull back two points. Comeback on?

12-7 Mathias attacks Marcus' serve. Good aggressive play from him.

11-6 Backhand from Mathias from the baseline. No mistake this time.

10-5 Mathias at the baseline shoots into the net, for a change.

9-3 Loss in concentration from Bengaluru's English pair. Marcus makes the call of letting a return go but it drops well before the baseline.

8-3 Awadhe Warriors with the lead at the break, again. And there's a good chance the second game will also go in its favour. Can the Bengaluru pair pull off an unlikely comeback?

7-3 Lauren was ready for that at the net. She pulls off a cross court drop shot with both Ashwini and Mathias in the other half.

5-2 Lauren and Ashwini engage well in the rally. Ashwini defended well and Mathias finishes things with a smash from the baseline.

2-1 Ashwini is very good at the net. She pulls out another drop shot at the net and picks up yet another point. The Bengaluru pair keep engaging her at the net despite there being enough evidence, just from the first game, that she is very good there.

Game two: 0-1 Well left by Lauren and the home side picks up the first point again.

15-7 Awadhe Warriros takes the first game with another error from Lauren.

14-6 Game point to Awadhe Warriors after Lauren's jump smash doesn't clear the net.

12-6 Marcus with a good drop shot this time. Ashwini wasn't expecting that.

11-5 Ashwni hasn't lost her cool here. Cross court smash and picks the point.

10-4 Two rare mistakes from Mathias. Jumps for a smash but the shuttle nestles into the net after he gave away the previous point by going long at the baseline. 

9-2 Ashwini picks the point with a good attack at the net. Lauren put that on a plate for her.

8-2 Lauren goes well wide and Awadhe Warriors takes a six point lead at the break. The Bengaluru Raptors duo need to regroup here as the game seems to be slipping out of their grip very quickly.

6-2 Another smash, from Mathias into Lauren's body. A 382 kmph smash. Same result.

4-2 Mathias getting in the action now. He jumps at the net and smashes into Lauren's body. There was no returning that.

1-2 Is this going to be a battle of who will do better at the net? Ashwini and Lauren have been aggressive at the net in the opening minutes.

Match one, game one: 0-1 Mathias shoots wide and the first point of the semifinal goes to the home team.

• Mathias Christiansen and Ashwini Ponnapa have won four of the six mixed doubles matches the pair has played. Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith on the other have are yet to register a win as a team.

• Awadhe Warriors' trump match is the first match of the day, and it's the mixed doubles. Mathias Christiansen and Ashwini Ponnapa vs Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith.

• With the international field stronger and more diverse than ever, P.V.Sindhu says Indian badminton is in good health. [REPORT]

• Bengaluru played Chennai Smashers yesterday and came out on top 3-2. Here's a report of that match.

 

• We have come to the business end of this Pro Badminton League season. Awadhe Warriors vs Bengaluru Raptors is the first semifinal. The second semifinal sees Hyderabad Hunters and Mumbai Rockets going head-to-head tomorrow.