HS Prannoy and Tai Tzu Ying, who suffered defeats in their last tie, won their matches against Mumbai Rockets in straight games to take Ahmedabad Smash Masters to the Premier Badminton League semi-finals.

In the last league tie for both teams, Smash Masters came out all guns blazing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium to down the Rockets 5-0. The five points earned from this win swelled their tally to 17, two more than previous leaders Bengaluru Blasters. Blasters, however, another tie remaining in Hyderabad.

The Mumbai team, languishing at the table’s bottom with 10 points, is out of contention for the knockouts.

Law Cheuk Him and Kamilla Rytter Juhl put the Smash Masters ahead in the first match of the night, beating Lee Yong Dae and Gabriela Stoeva 15-11, 15-7.

With their semi-final hopes dwindling fast, world no 5 Son Wan Ho had to best Prannoy. Before the match, with the knowledge that this is the Ahmedabad team’s last chance to step into the semis, Prannoy tweeted:

And, Prannoy did.

First game, the South Korean raced to a 3-0 lead but gave away two points with unforced errors. The duo then headed to the mid-game break with Son leading 8-7. Back from break, Prannoy took control of the game. At 12-12, he pulled away to score three straight points to close the game.

The next game panned out similarly. Son raced to a 3-1 lead. At mid-game break, he led 8-7. From 12-12, Prannoy, fully pumped up by the Chennai crowd, made no errors.

World no 1 Tai Tzu Ying justified her billing by winning her women’s singles duel against Beiwan Zhang 15-9, 15-12.

Tai Tzu wrapped up the first game quickly – at no point did she trail Zhang – but was stretched in the second. Down 6-11, the American, thanks to several unforced errors, narrowed the gap to 11-13. But two untimely unforced errors from Zhang saw her lose in straight games.

For the Rockets to keep alive their hopes of winning the tie, Sameer Verma had to beat his elder brother Sourabh in the night’s only trump match – it it was the first time in the season that both teams had chosen the same match to be trump match. Sameer kept catching up with Sourabh throughout the first game, but the elder one, at 14-14, kept his cool to take the first game. In the second, Sameer erred a lot and lost the match 14-15, 11-15.

With the semi-final hopes crushed and the tie lost, Lee Yong Dae and Tan Boon Heong stepped on the court to salvage their team from 5-(-1) to 5-0. This they did with a 15-10, 15-12. The two games were the only ones that the Rockets managed to win all night.