PBL: Smashers score over Hunters

In the men’s singles match, former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei downed a fighting Sony Dwi Kuncoro 15-3, 12-15, 15-8.

Smashers’ ploy of using P.V. Sindhu’s singles rubber against K. Supanida as the trump match paid off as the former clinched a 15-8, 14-15, 15-5 win.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Hyderabad Hunters hopes of a knock-out berth suffered another big blow when Chennai Smashers notched up a 4-3 win in a Premier Badminton League championship match at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.

Hunters were off to a disappointing start, with former World championship bronze medallist G. Jwala and Carsten Mogensen losing 15-7, 15-7 to Chris Adcock and Pia Zebadiah in the mixed doubles match.

The big-hitting 2014 Commonwealth Games mixed doubles champion, Adcock, repeatedly attacked Jwala’s forehand to pick a series of points.

Then, in the men’s singles match, former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei downed a fighting Sony Dwi Kuncoro 15-3, 12-15, 15-8.

Though Lee looked in a hurry in the first game with his famed stroke-play on show, he was clearly surprised by the tenacity of Kuncoro, a former Olympics silver medallist, in the second game when the latter showed his mastery at the net engaging Lee in lot of rallies and placing his returns at will.

But, in the third game, it was a Lee show all the way, with a deadly combination of power and precision, which was evident from the delicate drops which were too good for the Indonesian.

“I was surprised by Kuncoro’s attacking skills and returns in the second game. Had to just keep calm and concentrate on my strategy which yielded positive results,” Lee said.

It was another dismal outing for London Olympics quarterfinalist P. Kashyap as he lost his second straight singles rubber in the home-leg here. Simon Santoso recorded a 15-12, 15-12 win over the experienced Indian campaigner, who could show only glimpses of his class which was not quite enough.

Smashers’ ploy of using P.V. Sindhu’s singles rubber against K. Supanida as the trump match paid off as the former clinched a 15-8, 14-15, 15-5 win.

Sindhu, the two-time World championship singles bronze medallist, was clearly surprised by the brilliant fightback by Supanida in the second game just when it looked to be a cakewalk.

Having fed the opponent with some high returns which saw Supanida come up with some telling smashes, Sindhu changed her strategy in the decider when she pushed the opponent to the corners with predominant net-play to pick the gaps at will.

There was something to cheer in the last match of the evening when Hunters’ men’s doubles duo of Carsten Mongensen and Markis Kido won their team’s trump match with a 15-12, 15-13 win over Chris Adcock and Pranav Chopra.

The results (‘T’ indicates trump match): Chennai Smashers bt Hyderabad Hunters 4-3 (Chris Adcock & Pia Zebadiah bt Carsten Mogensen & Gutta Jwala 15-7, 15-7; Sony Dwi Kuncoro lost to Lee Chong Wei 3-15, 15-12, 8-15; Simon Santoso bt P. Kashyap 15-12, 15-12; T- P.V. Sindhu bt K. Supanida 15-8, 14-15, 15-5; Chris Adcock & Pranav Chopra lost to T-Carsten Mogensen & Markis Kido 12-15, 13-15).