World No. 16 Sai Praneeth posted a stunning 15-10, 15-10 victory over compatriot and World No. 3 Kidambi Srikanth to help Hyderabad Hunters seal their Premier Badminton League tie against Awadhe Warriors 3-0 with two matches remaining in Chennai on Sunday.
Srikanth’s encounter was Warriors’ trump match and a defeat set them back in the tie.
Praneeth who had beaten Srikanth last year in the Singapore Open to win his first Super Series title was completely dominant in the match and after the initial burst of points from the Denmark Open winner, it was Praneeth who controlled the opening game with his precision.
He went into the break with a slender 7-8 deficit but after the interval, Sai displayed great precision to win the opening game.
In the second game, Sai was playing like a man possessed and raced to an 8-0 lead. Though Srikanth did very well to reduce the gap and take points, the Hyderabadi sealed the match.
Earlier, World No.18 Lee Hyun Il of Korea registered a thrilling 13-15, 15-9, 15-14 win against Parupalli Kashyap to guide Hyderabad Hunters to an early 2-0 lead against Awadhe Warriors.
Kashyap who has been in stellar form this season started on a high note with his power smashes proving no match for the 37-year-old Korean. Even though the Lee gave him a tough fight it was the Indian who bagged the opening game.
In the second game, Lee got his act together and was quick off the blocks to head into the interval with an 8-3 lead. After the breather, Kashyap won three points on the trot to reduce the lead and was not in the mood to go down so easily.
However, Lee maintained his stronghold on the game and denied to squander the early lead and raced to seal it to force into decider.
Lee, the oldest player to win a match in the Vodafone PBL came out a different player altogether and got on to the front-foot from the word go. He raced to an 8-3 lead and his combination of smashes, drop and deceptive cross court hits were too much the Indian to handle.
Though Kashyap tried to stay on in the match after the change of ends and saved six match points, Lee did not give him any chance of a comeback and cruised to win the match and give his side the advantage.
Hyderabad won the first point of the day after their men’s doubles pair of Markis Kido/Yoo Yeon Seong came back from a game down to win 14-15, 15-6, 15-11 against the combination of Or Ching Chung/Tang Chun Man.