Sindhu, Kido put Warriors in final

Bangalore, Aug 30 (IANS) Teen sensation PV Sindhu and doubles specialist Markis Kido carried Awadhe Warriors into the final of the Vodafone Indian Badminton League as their team edged out Mumbai Masters 3-2 in the semi-finals, here Thursday.

The Warriors, who take on Hyderabad Hotshots in the final Saturday at Mumbai, rode on Sindhu's crucial win in the women's singles against Tine Baun and then Kido won both his doubles matches, men's and mixed, to power the Lucknow-based team into the title round.

The Masters, who had lost to Warriors by the same margin in the league phase at this very venue last week, paid dearly for getting their mixed doubles combination wrong.

Vladimir Ivanov, after winning a tough second men's singles against K Srikanth to tie the match 2-2, had just five-minute break before he came back on court for the mixed doubles partnering Baun who seemed to be nursing a hamstring problem, and promptly lost to World No.9 pairing of Kido and his younger sister Pia Bernadeth 21-19.

Earlier, World No.1 Lee Chong Wei gave Masters 1-0 lead by easily winning the first men's singles 21-15, 21-17 against Gurusai Dutt, but Sindhu put Warriors on even terms by outclassing a wayward Baun 21-16, 21-13.

In the men's doubles, Kido, combined brilliantly with Mathias Boe brushed aside Suneeth Reddy and Pranav Chopra 21-15, 21-10 as Warriors moved to a 2-1 lead only to see Srikanth losing 20-21, 19-21 to Ivanov as Masters drew level at 2-2.

Ivanov, who had to work hard for his win over Srikanth, had not much left in the tank for the mixed doubles tie along with Baun as Kido and Bernadeth came through 21-19, 21-15 to help Warriors wrap up the tie.

The opening tie lasted barely 39 minutes with Wei, who was ranked No.1 for 199 consecutive weeks over a four-year period, in a different league, though Dutt put on a brave front to keep pace with the Malaysian ace in the first game. However, Dutt flattered only to deceive as Wei raced through the second game to wrap up the match with comfort.

Wei gave a grand exhibition of his stroke-play as he seemed to have so much time to play his shots. Dutt, despite a decent defence, could not really counter the Malaysian's attacks that were cleverly masked.

If Wei appeared a bit too casual at the start of the match and also had initial problems countering the left-to-right drift, but, once he got into groove, he literally toy with the 23-year old Dutt who after a spirited show in the first game, simply faded away while conceding far too many negative points.

The much-hyped Sindhu vs Baun match proved to be a total flop and rather one-sided. While Sindhu played to her potential and looked very composed, Baun pouted and sulked for much of the match, unable to come to terms with the conditions that included the drift and the fast shuttles.

In the bargain, the match was more about errors than outright winners with Sindhu playing a mature game in contrast to the Dane who made little effort to lift her game as the Indian repeated her last week's league win over the All-England champion with surprising ease.

The men's doubles too proved to be a mismatch of sorts with Kido and Boe tandem carrying far too much experience and courtcraft for the young pair of Reddy and Chopra who were simply bamboozled by their opponents who were far too fast and aggressive.

So much so that the match lasted barely 28 minutes and never for a moment was the Warriors pair in any trouble while the Masters pair looked distinctly out of depth.

Ivanov then put Masters back in the hunt with a hard-fought win over Srikanth whose mistakes at the fag end of both the games helped the six-foot six-inch Russian to clinch the tie, though not in a convincing manner.

Srikanth had his chances in both the games and at times looked the better player, but his inconsistency cost him dear while Ivanov hung on grimly to feed on his opponent's mistakes and tie the match 2-2 only to see Kido and Bernadeth take the mixed doubles tie for Warriors.

The results:

Awadhe Warriors beat Mumbai Masters 3-2 (Gurusai Dutt lost to Lee Chong Wei 15-21, 7-21; PV Sindhu bt Tine Baun 21-16, 21-13; Markis Kido / Mathias Boe bt Suneeth Reddy / Pranav Chopra 21-15, 21-10; K Srikanth lost to Vladimir Ivanov 20-21, 19-21; Kido / Pia Bernadet bt Ivanov / Baun 21-19, 21-15).

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