Banga Beats fought back from a 2-0 deficit to clinch the game by 3-2 in the Indian Badminton League (IBL) face-off against bottom-placed Banga Beats in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Hyderabad’s Saina Nehwal and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk started off the proceedings with comfortable victories over Ying Tai Tzu and P Kashyap respectively.
However, Banga beats didn’t lose hop as the duo of Akshay Dewalkar and Carston Mogensen beat Hyderabad's Goh V Shem and Wah Lim Khim 15-21, 21-15, 11-1.
Jan O Jorgensen, currently ranked world No.9, then prevailed over Hyderabad's Ajay Jayaram (ranked No.24) in the second men's singles match of the tie.
It was an easy match for the player from Denmark who finished the duel quickly in both the games.
"I am happy for my game but a bit disappointed for my opponent (Jayaram) who didn't play his best game.
"Since Ajay has to play the semi-finals tomorrow, I kept expecting him to give a good fight but the game went smooth and it did not even last till the third game. My overall experience of playing in IBL has been amazing and I would like to come back again next year to play for Banga Beats," Jorgensen said.
The mixed doubles event of the day, between Hyderabad's Pradnya Gadre and Kona Tarun and Carston Mogensen and Aparna Balan of Banga Beats, too, was a keenly-fought contest.
The Hyderabad pair won the first game 21-18, but lost the second game 16-21. Then, although Gadre and Tarun put up a stiff resistance, Banga Beats won the third game 11-9.
Of the five matches in the tie, Banga Beats won three, while Hyderabad emerged successful in two.
Earlier, a Saina Nehwal-inspired Hyderabad Hotshots consolidated their position by taking an early 2-0 lead. Saina won her match 21-17, 14-21, 11-8 against Ying Tai Tzu, after Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk gave the hosts a cracking start by staving off the challenge of India's top male shuttler Parupalli Kashyap 21-20, 21-18.
After giving ample evidence of her touch in the first game, Saina went down easily in the second to give Bangalore a glimmer of hope.
However, the third and final game belonged to Saina.
The Hotshots took a 1-0 win after Saensomboonsuk defeated Kashyap to qualify for the semi-finals.
The two victories enabled Hyderabad to reach the top of the points table.
The keenly-awaited game of the day, the women's singles match between icon player Saina and Banga Beats' Ying Tai Tzu began as a close contest with the score being 7-4 at first break.
What followed was a visual treat of powerful smashes, rallies for the spectators as the two seasoned players sweated it out. Saina managed to move ahead and the score was 14-10 by the second interval.
Though Ying Tai Tzu tried her best to narrow the gap, a few unforced errors proved costly for her and the never-say-die Saina succeeded in maintaining the lead. Saina's deft play, however, ensured that she pocketed it 21-17.
Tzu fought back in the second game and made it 7-6 at the first break but Saina narrowed the gap soon and equalled the score at 10-10. Ying Tai Tzu did not give up and succeeded in extending her lead.
Long rallies followed before Tai managed to wrest the second game 21-14
The deciding third game was a keenly fought battle comprising of powerful smashes and cross court shots with Saina taking the lead.
Saina kept up the momentum and reached the target 11 points against 8 scored by Ying Tai Tzu.
In the opening match, Saemsomboonsuk took an early lead. However, Kashyap caught up levelling the score at 10-10.
With the combination of some powerful smashes and a rallies, Kashyap surpassed Tanongsak at the time of second interval by racing away to a 14-11 lead.
Tanongsak, however, put up a tough fight and made matters difficult for Kashyap with his gritty play. The keen contest were locked at 20-20 before the Thai had the last laugh.
Continuing his intelligent play, Tanongsak surged ahead in the second game and established a solid lead of 14-4 by the second break. Kashyap tried to come back into the game and took the score to 16-18. However, the Hyderabad player prevailed finally and ended the ame 21-18.
Image: Jan O Jorgensen
Photograph: Indian Badminton League