PBL: Chennai Smashers edges out Pune 7 Aces

Sung Ji Hyun beat Olympic champion Carolina Marin in a thrilling match as Chennai Smashers recorded 4-3 win over Pune 7 Aces on Thursday.

Sung Ji Hyun beat Carolina Marin 15-14, 7-15, 15-13 in the women's singles match.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

Chennai Smashers began its campaign against Pune 7 Aces with the famous English husband-wife mixed doubles pair in Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock winning the Trump match. Another Englishman, Rajiv Ouseph outwitted Frenchman Brice Leverdez in the first men’s singles.

The two victories put the Smashers in an advantageous 3-0 position in the Vodafone PBL season 4 match at ‘The Arena by SE TransStadia’ here on Thursday. Then, the South Korean, Sung Ji Hyun delivered a three-game win against the fancied Carolina Marin for the Smashers to record its second win in three fixtures with a clear cut lead of four points to nil.

There was plenty of drama and thrill in the third game between Sung Ji and Carolina though. When the experienced South Korean grabbed the first game by a whisker at 15-14, it seemed the side in yellow had the chance to clinch the tie straightaway.

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But such a great achiever in women’s singles is Spain’s Carolina, going into the match with 7-1 head-to-head lead against the South Korean, was relentless in her pursuit, exhibiting dexterity with her left hand to take a 8-0 lead. After the short interval she won the second game at 15-7.

Carolina Marin in action against Sung Ji Hyun in the PBL match between Chennai Smashers and Pune 7 Aces.   -  VIJAY SONEJI


The third game turned into a cliff hanger with scores tied at 10. The Smashers challenged a point and lost, but the South Korean, showed calm nerves to overcome the setback of a lost point on net-chord, and won the match when Carolina’s dribble at the corner of the net dropped out. It was Sung Ji’s second win against Carolina in nine matches and her terrific win clinched the tie.

Before the thrilling women’s singles match, Chris and Gabby, ranked No. 9 in the world, were in their elements; Gabby won the last point in the first game and Chris won the match winner in the second.

Then in the first men’s singles both Ouseph and Leverdez showed their expertise in soft skills, and eventually Ouseph, leading 14-12 in the third game, eked out a 15-14 win


The results

Chennai Smashers bt Pune 7 Aces 4-3

Chris Alcock and Gabby Alcock (T) bt Vladimir Ivanov and Line Kjaersfeldt 15-13, 15-14; Rajiv Ouseph bt Brice Leverdez 15-6, 8-15, 15-13; Sung Ji Hyun bt Carolina Marin 15-14, 7-15, 15-13; Vladimir Ivanov and Chirag Shetty bt Chris Adcock and Sumeeth Reddy 15-14, 15-9; Ajay Jayaram bt Wei Feng Chang 13-15, 15-7, 15-11.

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