Hyderabad: Rising shuttler P V Sindhu stole the show with a hard-fought win over World No.3 Germany`s Juliane Schenk as Awadhe Warriors sailed into the semifinals of the inaugural Indian Badminton League with a clinical win over Pune Pistons, here on Monday.
After Sindhu and K Srikanth won their respective women`s and men`s singles matches, it was Marcis Kido and Mathias Boe who outplayed Pune Pistons pair of Arun Vishnu and Sanave Thomas in men`s doubles to give Warriors an unassailable 3-0 lead in their final league match at the GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium.
Sindhu and Schenk engaged in an attritional battle before the Hyderabadi-girl pulled off a sensational upset win in two tight games. A capacity, vociferous home crowd egged on the 18-year-old as she prevailed over her opponent 21-20 21-20.
Schenk edged ahead in the first game with a 7-4 lead but Sindhu narrowed the gap to 7-6. The World Championships bronze-medallist Sindhu overtook Schenk for the first time as she took a two point lead at 9-7, having won five points on the trot after the break.
Schenk clawed her way back to 13-12 as the players went into the second break at 14-12. The seasoned German campaigner did not allow Sindhu to score easily as her powerful forehand shots kept the score even at 16-16. Both fought tooth and nail for every point as the game was evely poised at 18-18.
Schenk made a service error and gave an opening to Sindhu but she failed to make use of the opportunity as the fate of the two hung in the balance at 20-20. Schenk missed a backhand and the result went in favour of the Indian.
In the second game, Schenk gained an early lead at 3-1 but soon fell behind to 3-5. The German, however, responded strongly with her cross-court smashes to leave Sindhu trailing at 6-11. The gap grew to seven points as Schenk extended her lead to 16-9.
But Sindhu scripted a remarkable recovery to claw her way back into the game. At 19-17, Sindhu rode on her smashes and better placements to restore parity at 19-19.
At 20-20, it could be anybody`s game but a smash beyond the reach of Schenk ended the nail-biting contest in favour of Sindhu.