Smashers beat Acers, earn second win in PBL

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Lucknow, Jan 5 (IANS) The P.V. Sindhu-led Chennai Smashers came out with a stupendous team performance to beat Delhi Acers 4-3 and earn their second consecutive win of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

The Acers on the other hand suffered their second successive loss after going down to the Awadhe Warriors by the same margin here on Monday night.

The Smashers got off to a great start with Chris Adcock and Pranaav Chopra winning the men’s doubles encounter 15-12, 15-14 against Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong of the Acers.

“It’s a big sigh of relief we would say. Our opponents played so brilliantly, made this match challenging for us. We are happy to finally pull it off at the last moment. We enjoyed the game especially the long rallies that we shared with them,” said Adcock.

Rajiv Ouseph’s loss on Monday night against the Warriors made the Acers field Ajay Jayaram in the first men’s singles match and was the decision proved to be perfect as Ajay Jayaram quite easily defeated Smashers’ Simon Santoso 15-6, 15-9.

“This was my first match of the league. Plus, I had the responsibility of opening my team’s account in the tie, so a win was the only option for me. I enjoyed the game, especially the drop shots which never allowed Simon to get settled,” said Jayaram.

With the score at 1-1, the tie entered into the mixed doubles contest, which probably turned out to be the most exciting and neck-and-neck affair of the six-team tournament yet.

Chris Adcock returned on the court to partner Pia Zebadiah for the Smashers. But importantly he was against his wife Gabrielle Adcock, who was partnering Malaysian great Koo Keat Kien for the Acers.

The better half of the Adcock pair with Kien clinched a tight first game 14-15 but Chris and Pia came back strongly to clinch the second game with the same scoreline to push the match into the decider.

The third game turned out to be a cliffhanger but Chris and Pia somehow managed to steal the game and match 15-14 to give the Smashers a 2-1 lead.

Smashers skipper Sindhu then hardly broke a sweat to win her women’s singles match, easily beating P.C. Thulasi of the Acers 15-5, 15-4.

This was Smashers trump match, giving them two points and making them win and lead the contest 4-1.

The option to choose a trump match is awarded to each team. A victory in the match gives the team two points while a loss means deduction of one point. Both teams can choose the same match as their trump contest.

“It was a good match for me. I played many matches against Thulasi earlier and I know her game well. I started well and managed to maintain the pressure from the first game. Thulasi gave a good fight but I kept my strategy intact. Happy that I won the Trump Match for my team,” said the 20-year-old Sindhu.

The Acers had already lost the match but each point counts to qualify for the semifinals. Plus the Delhi-based team were playing their trump match as Tommy Sugiarto took on Smashers’ Brice Leverdez in men’s singles in the final match of the contest.

Indonesia’s Sugiarto had it easy, coming out on top 15-4, 15-11 to gain two points for his team.

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