Group A of the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals has seen eight matches already played, leaving NRG Esports and Astralis to duke it out on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals.
The first day saw a total of 12 games, six of which were played in the upper bracket of Group A. Eight teams started on that side of the draw, but only six made it through to the second round.
The opening two matches of day one saw G2 defeat Grayhound (16-13) and NRG down Fnatic (16-12) in clashes that could have gone either way. The other two matchups were rather one-sided, with Astralis capitalising on an 11-4 half-time lead to hammer Cloud9 (16-9) and Heroic showing no mercy with an 8-1 blitz in the second half against DETONA Gaming (16-8).
The losers of the Bo1 fixtures then entered the first round of the lower bracket, while the winners advanced to the second round of the upper bracket.
G2 got off to a dominant start against NRG on Train and took a whopping 13-2 lead into the second half. They failed to keep the momentum going and let nine rounds slip after the break, but the half-time buffer was enough for G2 to secure a 16-11 win. The next two maps were much closer, with both ending after extra time, and in the end it was G2 who had to walk away with disappointed faces as NRG completed an epic comeback to advance to the third round.
The Astralis vs Heroic match was much less eventful. The former world no.1 CS:GO esports team showed that class is permanent, claiming 16-7 wins on both Vertigo and Inferno to set up a date with NRG. The winner of that clash will go straight into the semi-finals, with the loser picking up in the quarters.
Meanwhile, G2 and Heroic will continue their campaigns in the lower bracket. G2 are scheduled to take on Cloud9, who swept DETONA in the first round, while Heroic are tasked with a Fnatic side that defeated Grayhound 2-0.