2016 Premier Badminton League: Delhi Acers beat Chennai Smashers 4-3 to book finals spot
The Delhi Acers pulled off a fine 4-3 win over the Chennai Smashers to become the first team to make it to the final of the Premier Badminton league. The result was an affirmation of the Acers’ consistent play throughout the league, and they will now go into the summit clash as strong contenders.
Here’s how all the action unfolded:
1. Men’s Doubles: Koon Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (DA) vs Chris Adcock/Pranaav Jerry Chopra (CS)
The opening game saw the Acers pair take a 4-2 early lead, which they soon stretched to 6-2. The Smashers started to claw their way back at that stage with a two-point streak to make it 4-6, but it was the pair of Keat and Heong who went 8-6 ahead at the interval.
The other side of the break saw the Acers pair further stretch their lead; they clinched seven out of the last 11 points to take the opening game 15-10.
The second game saw Keat and Heong carry forward their momentum as they took a 4-0 lead. But at the 5-0 mark, the pair of Adcock and Chopra made a fine comeback. They won three out of the next four points to reduce the deficit to two, and then equalised the score at 6-6.
However, at the 7-7 mark, it was the pair of Keat and Heong who took an 8-7 lead at the break.
It proved to be a topsy-turvy affair when the players returned, and at the 10-10 mark, it was the Smashers who went 13-11 ahead. But Keat and Heong pegged them back immediately, clinching two points to level the score at 13-13. The game eventually went into a sudden death where the Acers prevailed 15-14.
Result: Koon Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong beat Chris Adcock/Pranaav Chopra 15-10 15-14
2. Men’s Singles: Ajay Jayaram (DA) vs Sony Kuncoro (CS)
The opening game saw Kuncoro take a 3-1 lead but Jayaram came back strongly to level the score at 3-3. It was an up-and-down game after that until the 6-6 mark, when the Indian won two consecutive points to go 8-6 up at the interval.
The other side of the break saw Jayaram further maintain his lead even though it was a slender one. But at the 11-10 mark Suncoro upped his level to win four out of the next seven points to go 14-13 up. He then won the sudden death point to win the game 15-14.
The second game saw Jayaram take a 3-0 lead before giving away three out of the next four points to lead just by a solitary point. However, the Indian rediscovered his mojo after that and led 8-3 at the break.
Kuncoro was not to be kept quiet for long as he reduced the deficit to three, but the Indian took over after that, winning a whopping seven out of the last 12 points to win the game 15-10.
The decider saw Jayaram make a strong start again as he took a 3-1 lead before stretching it to 8-2 at the interval mark. The other side of the break saw the reigning Dutch Open champion further dominate proceedings, and despite a late surge of points from his opponent, he clinched the game 15-7 to give a 2-0 lead to his side.
Result: Ajay Jayaram beat Sony Kuncoro 14-15 15-10 15-7
3. Mixed Doubles: Gabrielle Adcock/Koon Kien Keat (DA) vs Chris Adcock/Pia Zebadiah (CS)
The opening game saw the pair of Adcock and Zebadiah take a 3-0 lead before the Acers pair won three points straight to first level the score at 3-3 and then take the lead at 5-3. But the Smashers pair made a terrific comeback, winning five out of the next nine points to go 8-7 up at the interval.
The other side of the break saw the pair of Adcock and Zebadiah further extend their lead and they eventually sealed the opening game 15-9.
The second game saw each pair win two out of the opening four points before the Acers clinched two points straight to go 4-2 up. However, the pair of Adcock and Zebadiah clinched three out of the next four points to level the scores at 5-5.
Keat and Adcock won three points straight after that to lead 8-5 at the break. But the post-interval phase saw Adcock and Zebadiah make a sterling comeback as they clinched three straight points to make it 8-8.
At the 10-10 mark the pair of Adcock and Zebadiah clinched five out of the next nine points to seal the deal and get their side off the mark in the tie.
Result: Chris Adcock/Pia Zebadiah beat Gabrielle Adcock/Koon Kien Keat 15-9 15-14
4. Women's Singles: PC Thulasi (DA) vs PV Sindhu (CS) [Trump Match called by CS]
The opening game saw Sindhu take a 3-1 early lead before stretching the advantage to 8-3 at the interval mark. The other side of the break saw the two-time World Championships bronze medalist absolutely boss the game and she eventually won the first game 15-6.
The second game saw Sindhu take an early 4-1 lead before extending the advantage to 8-4 at the interval. She then won seven of the next 10 points to comfortably win the game 15-7 and clinch the opening Trump Match of the night. Sindhu's win brought the Smashers back into the tie with a vengeance, as they now led 3-2 going into the decider.
Result: PV Sindhu beat PC Thulasi 15-6 15-7
5. Men’s Singles: Tommy Sugiarto (DA) vs Brice Leverdez (CS) [Trump Match called byDA]
The opening game saw Leverdez take a 3-1 lead before Sugiarto fought back to level the score at 3-3. He then turned that into an advantage with some fine play, leading 8-4 at the interval mark.
The other side of the break saw the Frenchman make a fine comeback as he won four out of the next six points to reduce the deficit to 8-10. But Sugiarto maintained his lead and more importantly, his composure, to seal the game 15-11.
The second game saw the two players split the first four points before the Indonesian took a 4-3 lead, which he stretched to 8-5 at the interval mark. Like in the opening game, Leverdez tried his best to fight back and gave it his all but at the sudden death mark, he couldn’t quite hold his nerve.
He lost the game 14-15 to Sugiarto, and with that his team's chances of qualifying for the finals went up in smoke.
Result: Tommy Sugiarto beat Brice Leverdez 15-11 15-14
Final result: Delhi Acers beat Chennai Smashers 4-3