New Delhi: Hyderabad Hunters booked their place in the semi-finals of the ongoing Premier Badminton League (PBL) by defeating defending champions Delhi Acers 5-2 at the Siri Fort Stadium, here on Thursday.
It was a do and die tie for Hyderabad as a loss would have seen Bengaluru Blasters enter the last four stage in their stead.
Awadh Warriors, Chennai Smashers and Mumbai Rockets had already booked their berths in the semi-finals.
It was the culmination of a rather dismal campaign for Delhi who ended the league stage with a single win to their name.
Men's singles star Jan Jorgensen was the only bright spot for the hosts as he won his trump match to give the rather sparse home crowd a fleeting hope of a Delhi fightback.
Samir Varma ensured a solid start for Hyderabad by edging out Siril Varma 8-11, 11-3, 11-2 in a hard-fought encounter.
Sameer struggled a bit in the opening game before completely dominating the next two games despite some excellent placements by his opponent.
The mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Hoi Wah Chau extended Hyderabad's lead by defeating the Delhi mixed doubles combination of Jwala Gutta and Vladimir Ivanov by straight games.
The 17-year-old Satwiksairaj displayed impressive power and athleticism. He troubled the Delhi players with his powerful smashes and excellent court coverage as Hyderabad took the game 11-3, 11-4.
The Hyderabad pair conceded the first point before fighting back to take a lead.
The Hyderabad duo equalised at 3-3 but Jwala put her shot into the net to hand the lead to Delhi once again.
Chau and Sairaj extended the lead to go into the mid-game break at 6-3.
The Delhi shuttlers continued their domination after the break and did not concede any point after the break to take the opening game at 11-3.
The dominated the second game as well and opened up a 6-2 lead at the break. Jwala and Ivanov were no match for the Delhi pair who sealed second game at 11-4 to wrap up the match.
With Delhi trailing 2-0, Denmark star Jan Jorgensen brought the hosts back on level terms with an 11-5, 11-7 victory over Rajiv Ouseph in a rather one-sided men's singles contest which was also a trump match.
Jorgensen took five consecutive points in the opening game before he put one into the net to hand Rajiv his first point.
With a formidable 6-2 lead at the break, the former European champion took the first game 11-5 without breaking much sweat.
Rajiv produced a much better fight in the second game with some excellent placements and subtle changes in speed.
But Jorgensen managed to hold off the Delhi shuttler's challenge to take the game 11-7.
Reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin handed the lead back to the visitors with a hard-fought 15-14, 11-4 verdict over Delhi's Nitchaon Jindapol in the women's singles contest which was the other trump match of the tie.
The opening rally witnessed an incredible 34 shots before Marin drew first blood.
Trailing 1-6 early on, Jindapol fought back to draw level at 8-8 before clinching the lead with some superb placement.
The Olympic champion leveled the scores at 10-10. The Delhi shuttler regained the advantage with a powerful smash before another exhausting rally saw her lead by 13-12.
Jindapol then put her attempt into the net to hand the momentum to Marin who went on to take the game 15-14.
Having forced the advantage, Marin dominated the second game to grab a well-deserved vicrory.
The men's doubles duo of Tan Boon Heong and Tan Wee Kiong rounded off an excellent performance from Hyderabad with an 11-9, 13-11 over the Delhi combination of Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov.