Hyderabad Hunters take on Delhi Dashers in the first semi-final of ongoing Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday, January 12.
Hunters booked a spot in the last-four stages of the tournament after finishing on top of the eight-team league table with a whitewash (6-(-1)) of second-placed Bengaluru Blasters on Thursday in front of their home crowd.
Reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin and Singapore Open 2017 winner Sai Praneeth will head into the semi-final tie with a lot of confidence after having won their respective rubbers on Thursday.
Notably, Marin has not lost a single game in the ongoing tournament, winning all the four times she stepped on the court for the Hunters.
The Spaniard, who enjoys a lot of support in the country, said she is looking forward to playing the semi-final at Gachibowli Stadium -- the Hunters' home venue.
"We feel really happy to be at the top. We are also happy to play the semi-final here [in Hyderabad] in front of our crowd. It's going to be amazing to feel the support," Marin said on Thursday.
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On the other hand, the Dashers will bank on world number six Sung Ji Hyun and China star Tian Houwei to get the job done for them later today.
Notably, the Dashers will take confidence from the way they defeated Hyderabad 5-0 during the group stages of the ongoing tournament. Even in that tie, Marin managed to outclass her arch-rival Sung in straight games.
While there are few exciting singles rubbers lined-up, the men's doubles tie between Markis Kido/Yoo Yeon Seong of the Hunters and Dashers' Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov may prove decisive.
Young Indian doubles stars Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (Hunters) and Ashwini Ponnappa (Dashers) are also expected to go head-to-head during the mixed doubles rubber of the evening in Hyderabad.
When does the semi-final tie start and how to watch it live
The PBL 3 semi-final between Hyderabad Hunters and Delhi Dashers will start at 7pm IST.
TV Channel: Star Sports 1/HD 1; Live streaming: Hotstar
Hyderabad Hunters: Sai Praneeth (MS), Lee Hyun Il (MS), Carolina Marin (WS), Pia Zebadiah/Satwiksairaj (XD), Markis Kido/Yoo Yeon Seong (MD).
Delhi Dashers: Tian Houwei (MS), Vincent Ki Wong (MS), Sung Ji Hyun (WS), Ashwini Ponappa/Vladimir Ivanov (XD), Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov (MD).