North Eastern Warriors beat Pune 7 Aces, sealed the semifinal position in PBL

HYDERABAD: World No. 10 Michelle Li he avoided an energetic challenge of Rituparna Das how Northeast Warriors scored a 5-0 dominant victory over Pune 7 Aces to seal his place in the semifinal in the fifth Premier Badminton League on Saturday.

The Guwahati-based franchise won its third victory in five draws with a fabulous performance that saw them win four of the five games, while the defeat broke the winning streak of three Pune matches.

With the 15-8, 13-15, 15-13 victory against the tough Das, Li has remained undefeated in four draws.

In the Warriors' Trump match, Li was expected to sail against Das, but the world's No. 100 showed remarkable courage under pressure despite losing the first game 8-15.

In a spectacular change, Das put the former gold medalist of the Commonwealth Games under pressure with his intelligent shuttle placement before finishing the second game. A visible injury to his right hand could not deter the 23-year-old girl whose composure left the crowd astonished.

In the tight decider, Das even moved ahead to 11-10 how the match headed to a close finish.

Li then dug deeply to level the score at 12-12 and then advanced to 14-12 to have a couple of match points in his hand.

Das, who made it to the semi-finals of the Syed Modi International in November, even saved a match point before Li wrapped up the match to take the Northeast Warriors to victory.

What really helped the Guwahati team dismantle the high-flying Pune 7 Aces was their win against the Aces Trump of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock.

The Commonwealth Games champions had entered this tie by not losing a single game this season. But against the supreme combination of Lee Yong Dae and Kim Ha Na, the two failed to bring their best game and fell to a 6-15 loss, 8-15.

Earlier, PBL Veteran Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk set the stage for the Warriors victory with a narrow 15-13, 15-14 victory over World No. 73 Kazumasa Sakai.

Tanongsak had won his two previous matches at the Hyderabad stage and brought that momentum today. With the two tied 1-1 at the BWF circuit, there was always a close game. The Thai was able to lift his game in the final stages of each game to end the victory of the Warriors.

Indonesian Masters semifinalist Lee Cheuk Yiu brought his variety of powerful shots to prevail over the 37th ranked Loh Kean Yew of Pune 15-12, 15-8. The No. 18 in the world had dominated Singaporean in their two meetings at the BWF World Tour and this time was no different.