PBL 2018-19: Chennai eases past Ahmedabad, Raptors edge Aces

Chennai Smashers won all its games against Ahmedabad Smash Masters to win the tie 6-(-1) and Pune 7 Aces' match against Bengaluru Raptors went down to the wire.

Rajiv Ouseph defeated Viktor Axelsen in a three-game thriller to clinch the tie for Chennai Smashers.   -  Jignesh Mistry

Rajiv Ouseph's win against Viktor Axelsen in Ahmedabad Smash Masters' trump match sealed the tie for Chennai Smashers, which went on to win it 6-(-1) in the Premier Badminton League. The tie between Bengaluru Raptors and Pune 7 Aces went to a decider where Raptors' Sai Praneeth beat Lakshya Sen.

Building on a cushion of two wins earlier, Ouseph’s win pushed Chennai beyond catching distance at 3-(-1) and Sung Ji Hyun proved too classy for Kristy Gilmour in women singles, earning two trump points.

Axelsen, a famous name on the European circuit and the 2016 Olympics bronze winner, had beaten Ouseph enroute to the podium finish at Rio. In the three-game thriller on Sunday, however, Ouseph's decisive play at the net and from backcourt clinched him the match. From 7-7 to match point, Ouseph celebrated each point won with a roar and as the Dane netted a return on match-point, Ahmedabad lost the tie.

PBL Highlights: Chennai Smashers vs Ahmedabad Smash Masters; Bengaluru Raptors vs Pune 7 Aces

Indians were at the receiving end in the first two matches at the Balewadi indoor stadium. Malaysian Chong Wei Feng surprised Sameer Verma - the second highest ranked Indian singles player- after an intense contest going the distance. England’s badminton couple, Chris and Gabriele Adcock, outsmarted the in-form Reddy pair of Satwiksai and Sikki in the mixed doubles.  Men’s doubles pair of Chris Addock and Sumeeth Reddy dealt the final blow.

Satwiksai and Sikki, complementing each other on court with leaping smashes and decisive netplay respectively, matched the Adcocks at the start before the husband-wife combination got into rhythm. Satwik returned to the court for the men’s doubles, determined to salvage some pride for his team, but ended on the losing side.

Bengaluru Raptors edge Pune 7 Aces

B. Sai Praneeth eased survived a second game comeback from Lakshya Sen and won the deciding match in straight games as Bengaluru Raptors edged Pune 7 Aces 4-3.

Earlier, Carolina Marin delighted the home fans with a 15-8, 15-5 demolition job on Thi Vu Thang in the women’s singles, the second tie of a double-header. But Kidambi Srikanth held his nerve to win a trump match for Raptors, sneaking past Pune hope Ajay Jayaram 10-15, 15-12, 15-14 and swinging the lead 3-2 in favour of the visitor.

Pune drew level 3-3 by winning the mixed doubles, then Sai Praneeth took crowd favourite Lakshya Sen in stride in straight games.

 

The results

Chennai Smashers bt Ahmedabad Smash Masters 6-(-1)   (Chong Wei Feng bt Sameer Verma 8-15, 15-14, 15-9; Chris Adcock & Gabriele Adcock bt Satwiksai Reddy & Sikki Reddy 15-14, 15-13; Rajiv Ouseph bt Viktor Axelsen-(T) 15-12, 7-15, 15-13; (T)-Sung Ji Hyun bt Kirsty Gilmour 15-11, 15-9; Chris Adcock & Sumeeth Reddy bt Lee Chun Hei & Satwiksai Reddy 15-11, 15-12.

Bengaluru Raptors bt Pune 7 Aces 4-3 (Hendry Setiawan & Mohammad Ahsan bt Vladimir Ivanov & Chirag Shetty 15-12, 15-11; Thi Vu Thang lost to Carolina Marin-(T) 8-15, 5-15; Kidambi Srikanth-(T) bt  Ajay Jayaram 10-15, 15-12, 15-14; Lauren Smith & Marcus Ellis lost to Line Kkaersfeldt & Vladimir Ivanov 13-15, 9-15; Sai Praneeth bt Lakshya Sen 15-9, 15-13.