Chennai Superstarz assured itself of a semifinal slot with a 4-3 win over Awadhe Warriors in the Premier Badminton League at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
Chennai now has 19 points and it tops the points table followed by North-Eastern Warriors, which also virtually booked the last four slot with 18 points.
Earlier, the fast-improving World No. 32 Lakshya Sen ensured a perfect start for Chennai when he outplayed Subhankar Dey in a hurry, consistently attacking a weak forehand.
Later in the men’s doubles, Awadhe’s combination of Ivan Sozonov and former World championship gold medallist Ko Sung-Hyun, playing their Trump match, outslugged R. Satwik Sairaj and Dhruv Kapila taking their game to a different level in the second and third games and also attacking the weaker Dhruv who was not equal to the task in the face of a series of body smashes.
For Chennai, World No. 21 Tommy Sugiarto won the men’s singles, which was a Trump match for his team, notching up a fluent win over World No. 41 Wong Wing Ki Vincent to give a 3-2 lead for the team.
Then, in the women’s singles, 16-year-old Gayatri Gopichand, preferred by Chennai to Kirsty Gilmour, who is down with stomach upset, was not really outplayed by the World No. 14 Beiwen Zhang.
In fact, Gayatri led 5-3 in the first game before Zhang came to terms with her game and started dominating. But, not before the former showed great composure and produced some wonderful half-smashes too.
In the last mixed doubles match which turned out to be the decider, R. Satwiksairaj and Jessica Pugh pulled off a brilliant 15-11, 13-15, 15-14 win over Ko Sung Hyun and Christinna Pedersen. Satwik gave some anxious moments to his camp when he limped off the court at 10-11 in the second game, forcing medical attention to his right ankle.