Bengaluru: Olympic champion Carolina Marin lifted Hyderabad Hunters over Delhi Acers 5-2 on Thursday to qualify for the Premier Badminton League (PBL) semi-finals.
Going into Thursday’s tie, Hyderabad Hunters was ranked fifth on the ranking table, and it needed three points to replace Bengaluru Blasters for a spot in the last four.
Hyderabad Hunters’ Sameer Verma shrug off a shaky start to take the opening match 8-11, 11-3, 11-2 against Siril Verma who made his PBL debut.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chau Hoi Wah were attacking relentlessly in the mixed doubles match that followed, notching up an 11-3, 11-4 win against Delhi Acers’ Jwala Gutta/Vladimir Ivanov to give Hyderabad Hunters a 2-0 lead.
With a lot at stake for his team, Jan Jorgensen of Delhi Acers dominated the second men’s singles match by beating Rajiv Ouseph of Hyderabad Hunters 11-5, 11-7 to give his team the breathing room they needed to stay alive by winning his team’s ‘Trump match’ to level the score at 2-2.
In a neck-and-neck women’s singles match, Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain who is also the highest pay shuttler in the league, saw off the resilient Nitchaon Jindapol of the Delhi Acers 15-14, 11-4 in her team’s ‘Trump match’ to give the Hunters a 4-2 advantage.
Hyderabad Hunters’ Malaysian duo Tan Boon Heong and Tan Wee Kiong and reigning All England champions Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov were engaged in some fascinating rallies that saw the Malaysian pair eventually wrapped up the men’s doubles match 11-9, 13-11.
In the semi-finals, Hyderabad Hunters will battle Mumbai Rockets while the Awadhe Warriors clash with Chennai Smashers for a final berth.