Lucknow, Jan: Defending champions Chennai Smashers went down to Delhi Dashers after being forced to concede the last match of the tie due to an ankle injury to Gabrielle Adcock mid-way into the first game in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the BBD UPBA here on Wednesday.
The match which would have decided the outcome of the tie could not be completed as Gabrielle twisted her ankle while returning a shot.
Playing in their trump match, the Adcocks couple Gabrielle/Chris were trailing 5-6 in the match. Going into the match, Chennai were trailing 1-2, but a loss would have erased their slate while Delhi were awarded a point and won the tie 3-0 on points.
Earlier, South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun, ranked 6th in the World beat World No.3 P.V. Sindhu to give Delhi a slight advantage (2-1 on points). Sung who had lost to Sindhu on both occasions in last season, exacted her revenge to disappoint the packed stadium that braved the chilly weather to witness their favourite star in action.
In a battle of equals in this marquee clash of the day, Sung prevailed over Sindhu 11-15,15-13, 15-14 though it was the lanky Indian who asserted early domination by taking an 8-6 lead at the interval in the first game.
Sindhu used the length of the court very well and tormented Sung throughout with her deceptive cross courts drop. She did not face much of a challenge and danced her way to win the game.
In the second game, Sung tried to force Sindhu onto the back-foot by engaging her in long rallies. Even though Sindhu tried her best to wrap up the proceedings, Sung drew level to send the match into the decider. It was a riveting contest in the final game with both the players engaging in a fierce battle. However, it was Sung who had the last laugh as she fought her way to victory to send Delhi ahead in the contest.
The tie was very crucial for both the teams as a win would put them in a strong position to enter the knock-out stages.
With four matches played in the tie, Delhi Dashers have won three matches while Chennai have won one.
Delhi are marginally ahead 2-1 on points as the mixed doubles clash between Chennai trump duo of Adcocks and Delhi’s team of Vladimir Ivanov/Ashwini Ponnappa will decide the outcome of the tie.
In the third match of the tie, World No.22 Tain Houwei of China beat Chennai’s Tanongsak Saemsomboonsuk 15-14,15-10 to keep Delhi alive in the tie.
In the first game, the lone Chinese started off well and breezed to establish an 8-2 lead at the interval. However, after the breather, Tian could not maintain his stronghold and Tanongsak fought his way back into the match.
In the second game, Tanongsak was leading 8-5 mid-way and should have tied the match. But he lost focus again and committed string of errors which allowed the Chinese to get back into the match and eventually emerge victorious 15-10.
In the second match of the day, Hong Kong’s Vincent Wong Wing Ki registered a comprehensive 15-10, 15-13 victory over France’s Brice Leverdez to reduce Delhi’s deficit in the tie. World No.15 Vincent started off in a jiffy rushing to an 8-2 lead in no time and it looked like he would win the game without facing much of a challenge.
Brice did improve gradually but could not stop the Hong Kong shuttler take the lead in the match. In the second game, Brice showed better determination and grit but could not stop the Delhi juggernaut as Vincent made his way to victory.
In the lung-opener of the day, the Indo/Taiwanese men’s doubles combination of B Sumeeth Reddy/ Lee Yang scored a superb 15-13,15-11 victory over the Russian trump duo of Ivan Sozonov/Vladimir Ivanov to help Chennai Smashers draw first blood of the tie.
The win saw Chennai log in their first point of the evening, while condemned Delhi to a -1 by the virtue of losing the trump match.
On Thursday, home team Awadhe Warriors will take on last year’s runners-up Mumbai Rockets.
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