PBL: Ahmedabad Smash Masters routs Delhi Dashers

Ahmedabad Smash Masters climbed to second in the table with a 4-1 win over Delhi Dashers at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad.

Ahmedabad's World No. 28 Kirsty Gilmour staged a brilliant comeback, to win the trump match against Evegeniya Kosetskaya.   -  G. RAMAKRISHNA

Last season's semifinalist, Ahmedabad Smash Masters, recorded its second win in this edition drubbing Delhi Dashers 4-1 in the Pro Badminton League at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

In the first mixed doubles match of the evening, 2018 Hyderabad Open champion pair of R. Satwiksairaj and N. Sikki Reddy ensured a winning start for Ahmedabad  with a 15-11, 15-10 win in a hurry over Maneepong Jonjit and Chia Hsin Lee in front of a sparse crowd.

In the second match, World No. 20 H. S. Prannoy of Delhi failed to get the better of World No. 23 Daren Liew.

An erratic Prannoy paid the penalty in the trump match for his team -  making too many unforced errors against an opponent who came up with a superior all-court game. Liew got the smashes and the drops in the right places in contrast to a struggling Prannoy.

There was a fight-back by Prannoy when he saved three match-points to narrow down the lead to 13-14 in the second game but his forehand smashed into the net to lose the game and the match was, perhaps, symbolic of the way he struggled to get his act together.

Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto beat World No.6 Viktor Axelsen 15-12, 10-15, 15-8 in the men's singles match.   -  G. Ramakrishna

 

— Sugiarto gets the better of Axelsen —

However, in the third match, former world champion and World No. 6, Viktor Axelsen, playing for Ahmedabad for the first time and coming into this league after an injury-break, was not equal to the challenge of facing 30-year-old Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto.

The seasoned Sugiarto, ranked World No. 9, came up with a perfect mix of some stunning cross-court smashes and often got the better of the younger opponent in some wonderful rallies. He even surprised Ahmedabad captain with a couple of telling body- smashes.

Though Axelsen showed glimpses of his class in the second game, in the decider, Sugiarto was more aggressive and launched a series of powerful smashes.  To his delight, Axelsen's returns either to the corners or at the net were erratic.

In women's singles, World No. 28 Kirsty Gilmour of Ahmedabad staged a gallant comeback, even brushing aside an injury-scare in second game, to win the trump match for her team against  Evegeniya Kosetskaya to reduce the last men's doubles match virtually inconsequential.

 

The result: Ahmedabad Smash Masters bt Delhi Dashers 4-1

R. Satwiksairaj & N. Sikki Reddy bt Maneepong Jongjit & Chia Hsin Lee 15-11, 15-10

Daren Liew bt H.S. Prannoy (T) 15-12, 15-13

Viktor Axelsen lost to Tommy Sugiarto 12-15, 15-10, 8-15

Kirsty Gilmour (T) bt Evgeniya Kosetskaya 12-15, 15-12, 15-7

Chun Hei Reginald Lee & R. Satwiksairaj lost to Chai Bio & Sijie Wang  9-15, 15-9, 13-15