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Sindhu guides Chennai Smashers past Bengaluru Blasters

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Rio Olympic silver medalist Pusarla V Sindhu won her trump game after facing some anxious moments as Chennai Smashers drubbed Bengaluru Smashers 5-0 in a Premier Badminton League contest at the NSCI Stadium here today.

After Kashyap gave Chennai a 1-0 lead by outclassing his less experienced but currently higher ranked rival Sourabh Varma, Sindhu secured two points for her team by winning the trump game against Cheung Ngan Yi, also in straight games, to help Chennai take 3-0 lead.

Then the husband-wife doubles pair of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock from Britain provided the Smashers with the winning 4-0 lead by edging out Bengaluru's Korea-India combine of Yeon Seong Yoo and Ashwini Ponnappa in three games in a thrilling mixed doubles match, to render the last two matches in the tie inconsequential.

The victory was Chennai's first of the season as they had lost to Hyderabad Hunters 3-4 in the tournament opener on January 1 in Hyderabad. It was Bengaluru's first loss in two ties, after their 4-3 win over Delhi Acers.

The top match of the day was Sindhu versus her Hong Kong rival Cheung. Although the Indian star won in straight games (12-10 11-6) she, with a current world ranking of 6, had to come from behind in both games. The Indian shuttler trailed 0-5 and then 0-3 against her Hong Kong rival who is ranked 19.

Sindhu had to save a game-point to win the first game over extra points and then fought back well in the second after trailing her rival before taking full control of the match.

"This was a good game for me. Though I conceded a lead in both the game, I came back strong. I am happy to get my first win of the season. Against Marin too, I won the first game, but she bounced back wonderfully. In this match, I didn't look to change much, but stick to my aggressive style of play," Sindhu said after her win.

Sindhu's superior smashing power against the dogged retrieval of her rival enthralled the crowd.

It was the lanky Indian star's first win in this PBL season after her lost to Olympic Games gold medal winner Carolina Marin, who plays for Hyderabad Hunters, in her home town Hyderabad in Chennai Smashers' first encounter.

In the first game, Sindhu fell behind early on, narrowed the gap to 4-6 but then trailed again before catching up her rival for the second time at 9 with a winning smash.

She was a game-point down by netting the 'bird', but drew level at 10 with another smash winner. A nervous Cheung netted the 'bird' twice in succession to concede the opening game.

Sindhu caught up at 4-all in the second game after trailing in the beginning and then went ahead with a fine smash winner.

She did not look behind thereafter as she won three more points to lead 8-4 and then went up to match-point with a flat shot winner before clinching the next point easily.

The opening clash between Kashyap, the quarter finalist

in the 2012 London Olympics, and Varma was one-sided with the former well in control right through to win it 11-8 11-5.

Kashyap led 5-1 with some good smashes and Varma could not come close as he lost the opening game tamely, the final point won by the Chennai Smashers player, fittingly with a smash.

The second game looked a bit close initially before Kashyap stepped up the pace and went up to match point at 10-5. A smash into the net by Varma ended the contest.

The Adcocks, taking the court after Sindhu's victory, saved five match-points in the deciding third game before putting it across Yeon and Ashwini 11-6 8-11 15-14 in a nail-biting match to seal the Smashers' win.

The Adcocks were down 6-10 in the decider before drawing level, faced another match-point at 10-11 before saving that too and then won the tie on their fourth match-point.

Dane Victor Axelsen pulled one back for Bengaluru by getting past Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto of Smashers 11-7 13-11 to make it 4-1 before the Korean pair of Sung Hyun Ko and Yeon Seong Yoo lost Bengaluru's trump match, the last men's doubles encounter, against Chris Adcock and Mads Pieler Kolding (Denmark) and secured a minus point.


Chennai Smashers bt Bengaluru Blasters 5-0:

P Kashyap bt Sourabh Varma 11-8 11-5; (Trump) P V Sindhu bt Cheung Ngan Yi 12-10 11-6; Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock bt Yeon Seong Yoo and Ashwini Ponnappa 11-6 8-11 15-14; Tommy Sugiarto lost to Victor Axelsen 7-11 11-13; Chris Adcock and Mads Pieler Kolding beat Sung Hyun Ko and Yeon Seong Yoo 11-7 7-11 13-11.

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First Published: Tue, January 03 2017. 22:22 IST