Smashers beat hosts Hunters 4-3 in PBL

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Hyderabad, Jan 10 (IANS) Backed by P.V. Sindhu’s Trump Match winning performance, the Chennai Smashers clinched their tie against hosts Hyderabad Hunters on Sunday night with a comprehensive 4-3 victory at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here, elevating them to third place in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) standings.

This was the Smashers’s third win in as many matches, with the same scoreline of 4-3. With two ties left to play, they look strong to qualify for the semifinals that will be played on January 14 and 15.

The Hunters, on the other hand, suffered their third consecutive loss and their chances of entering the knockouts look quite bleak.

Hunters captain Jwala Gutta, partnering Danish Carsten Mogensen did not have a good start as they lost to Smashers’ mixed doubles combine of Pia Zebadiah and Chris Adcock 7-15, 7-15.

“The match was amazing and we are very happy with our performance. Our opponents Carsten and Jwala were very good in their game and it was not easy to beat them. We had prepared our strategies against them and managed to execute them properly on the court,” said Adcock, giving his team a 1-0 lead.

The hosts top player Lee Chong Wei then beat Sony Dwi Kuncoro of the Smashers 15-3, 12-15, 15-8 in the men’s singles to make it 1-all in the tie. This was the legendary Malaysian’s second win in four matches in PBL.

“A very good match and I enjoyed it. First game went as per my game plans as I managed to dominate. Sony came very strongly in the second game and gave a tough fight to take the game,” said the two-time Olympic silver medallist Lee.

“He surprised me with his attacking skills and quick returns. In the third game, I just kept calm and concentrated on my strategies, which yielded a positive result in my favour.”

It has not been a great tournament for reigning Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who lost his third successive match of the tournament, this time to Simon Santoso 12-15, 12-15. Santoso’s win gave the visitors a 2-1 lead in the contest.

“It was not an easy match against Kashyap, who is very tough to beat. We both fought neck-and-neck and rallied hard to snatch points. I came on the court with few game plans, which worked well on a few occasions. I just managed to reduce my errors, challenged Kashyap all the time and eventually won it,” said the Indonesian.

Smashers skipper Sindhu then made it 4-1 by winning the women’s singles Trump Match against Supanida Katethong. The Thai girl gave stiff competition to the Indian but Sindhu eventually came out on top, winning 15-8, 14-15, 15-5.

“A great match which proved to be a very tough fight. Supanida was good in many areas and played extremely well. In the first game, I executed very well and continued to put pressure on her,” said Sindhu.

“The second game was very tough as she bounced back strongly. Our intense battle for each point continued in the third game. I re-worked my game-plan and added aggression to counter Supanida, which yielded a good win for me.”

The tie was beyond the hosts but points matter a lot in this format, especially it is a Trump Match which gives two points. And so the Hunters’ Trump was put on the shoulders of Markis Kido and Carsten Mogensen who did not disappoint to win the men’s doubles match against Chris Adcock and Pranaav Chopra 15-12, 15-13 to make it 3-4.

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