PBL 2018-19: Awadhe Warriors crushes Ahmedabad Smash Masters 6-(-1)

Awadhe Warriors won all its matches against Ahmedabad and moved to second on the table, a point behind Hyderabad Hunters.

Awadhe Warriors' Son Wan Ho defeated Viktor Axelsen and gave Warriors an unassailable 4-0 lead in the tie.   -  Vijay Soneji

Beiwen Zhang, Lee Yang and Mathias Christiansen and Son Wan Ho won their matches in three games each to give Awadhe Warriors a 4-0 tie winning lead and Lee Dong Kuen and the mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Christiansen closed out the tie at 6-(-1) in the Premier Badminton League at ‘The Arena by SE TransStadia’ in Ahmedabad on Friday.

Key Highlights: Ahmedabad Smash Masters vs Awadhe Warriors

Beiwen who has played for the country of her birth, China, and Singapore, and has been representing the USA for the last five years, was a clear cut favourite to win the opening Trump match for the Warriors without much fuss.   But the fiercely determined 25 year old Scottish competitor, Kirsty Gilmour, seemed bent upon having things her own way and making a strong start for Ahmedabad Smash Masters. But after dropping the opening game, Beiwen staved off a real challenge, winning the second and third games and the match.

It was an error-ridden match, with Kirsty showing energy and drive to hit winners in the first game. But eventually Beiwen, ranked 18 notches above the Scottish top player, brought cheer to her team. 

After Beiwen had brutally brought an end to Kirsty’s hopes of causing an upset, it was the petite South Korean Son Wan Ho who stole the thunder with a brilliant win against Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen. Ranked a rung above his regular Danish opponent, Son dominated the opening game and won it. He was decimated in the second game, however, with Axelsen’s smashes winning him the points. 

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The 30-year-old Son rarely employed the smash; he tossed and pushed the shuttle deep and took control of the third game and the match. Axelsen mishit a smash on the net to give the South Korean a well-earned win.

Between the women’s singles and the first men’s singles, the Warriors men’s doubles pair in Lee Yang and Mathias Christiansen downed the Indian pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Kidambi  Nandagopal in a thriller. 

The results

Awadhe Warriors 6 Ahmedabad Smash Masters -1

Beiwen Zhang (T) bt Kirsty Gilmour 10-15, 15-11, 15-11

Lee Yang and Mathias Christiansen bt Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and K. Nandagopal 15-12, 10-15, 15-6 \

Son Wan Ho bt Viktor Axelsen 15-7, 8-15, 15-10

Lee Dong Keun bt (T) Sourabh Verma 15-8, 15-12

Ashwini Ponnappa and Mathias Christiansen bt Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Sikki Reddy 13-15, 15-10, 15-12.