Ajay Jayaram showed heart to take the last match off Kazumasa Sakai when Awadhe were trailing 0-4.
Pune 7 Aces defeated Awadhe Warriors 4-1 in the 17th tie of the Premier Badminton League on Monday to level North Eastern Warriors on 18 points at the top half of the table.
After the opening match of the tie saw Awadhe Warriors’ Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol defeating Pune 7 Aces’ Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan 6-15, 15-9, 15-12 in the men’s doubles match, Pune staged a comeback to win three of the remaining four matches.
World no. 11 Beiwen Zhang was the safest bet for Awadhe Warriors’ trump match as she was going up against India’s Rituparna Das, 135th in the world rankings.
However, the 23-year-old Indian was at her best on Sunday as she went toe-to-toe with the American badminton star before finishing the match 15-13, 15-12 to not only win the match point but also negate Awadhe’s previous winning point, as the scoreline read 1-0 to Pune.
While the Danish star was expected to give a tough fight alongside her Russian partner, the Pune pair overcame the challenge very easily, to win the match 15-6, 15-9 and help Pune lead 2-0.
Pune 7 Aces pinned their trump hopes on Singapore’s Kean Yew Loh, who was up against India’s Subhankar Dey, ranked seven places below him.
And, the badminton player from Singapore didn’t make the mistake that Beiwen Zhang made early on, as he got the better of Subhankar Dey 15-12, 15-14 to help Pune 7 Aces take an unassailable lead of 4-0 in the tie.
With the tie already in Pune’s pocket, the final match of the tie saw Ajay Jayaram taking on Kazumasa Sakai in the men’s singles event.
The Indian did brilliantly to come back in the match after losing the first game 6-15. Despite having nothing to fight for, Ajay Jayaram added a point to his team’s kitty by winning the next two games 15-10, 15-13 as the final score read 4-1 to Pune 7 Aces.
With the win, Pune 7 Aces now have 18 points from 25 ties as they level second-placed North Eastern Warriors on every aspect. Awadhe Warriors, however, retain fourth place in PBL 2020 points table despite the loss as they have 14 points from 25 ties.