PBL: Sugiarto upsets Lee Chong Wei as Delhi win

On match-point, when Tommy Sugiarto’s smash hit the net-chord and tumbled over to seal the decider 15-14 against former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, the Premier Badminton League tie between underdog Delhi Acers and Hyderabad Hunters turned on its head.

Tommy Sugiarto is delighted after defeating Lee Chong Wei.   -  PTI

On match-point, when Tommy Sugiarto’s smash hit the net-chord and tumbled over to seal the decider 15-14 against former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, the Premier Badminton League tie between underdog Delhi Acers and Hyderabad Hunters turned on its head.

Had the shuttle fallen on Sugiarto’s side after the Malaysian had saved four match-points to make it 14-14, Hyderabad would have emerged victorious with a match in hand.

Since Sugiarto’s victory came in what was Hyderabad’s ‘trump’ match, Delhi earned a point and the visiting team lost one. Leading 2-1 and going into the deciding men’s doubles match, Delhi expectedly won its ‘trump’ match when Malaysians Kien Keat Koo and Boon Heong Tan eased past K. Nandagopal and Satvik Sai despite losing a tense second game.

The 4-1 victory for Delhi, which had lost both its previous outings, should rate as the biggest upset of the competition so far. For Hyderabad, the second defeat for Lee Chong Wei who had also lost to K. Srikanth in the first outing is clearly hurting.

Delhi’s maiden victory also ended in Hyderabad’s first defeat.

Earlier in the tie, Rajiv Ouseph’s victory over P. Kashyap kept Delhi alive in the match after P. C. Thulasi crashed to her third successive defeat.

Hyderabad took the lead for the second time in the tie when G. Jwala and Markis Kido cruised home in the third match after facing Akshay Dewalkar and Gabrielle Adcock in the mixed doubles.

This was indeed a must-win tie for Delhi after it appeared to be paying the price for making some poor choices at the Players’ auction.

For the host, Rajiv’s easy victory over Kashyap, who appeared rusty, could not have come at a better time. Rajiv was quick to repeat the dose given to the Indian in the French Open last October.

When the two met 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, champion Kashyap overpowered Rajiv to avenge the loss suffered in the team championship.

But the bigger surprise was indeed the defeat of Lee Chong Wei, now ranked fifth, to a player against whom he enjoys a 13-0 head-to-head record. In 2015, Lee Chong Wei twice played Sugiarto and advanced without dropping a game.

But the script was different on this day.

Results:

Delhi Acers beat Hyderabad Hunters 4-1

[P. C. Thulasi lost to Supinda Katethong 15-12, 9-15, 15-13; Rajiv Ouseph bt P. Kashyap 15-9, 15-10; Akshay Dewalkar and Gabrielle Adcock lost to G. Jwala and Markis Kido 7-15, 8-15; Tommy Sugiarto bt Lee Chong Wei (Trump) 9-15, 15-10, 15-14; Kien Keat Koo and Boon Heong Tan bt K. Nandagopal and Satvik Sai (Trump) 15-12, 14-15, 15-13)]