Acers have it easy against Top Guns

Ouseph tames fancied Srikanth

Bengaluru Topguns' star player Kidambi Srikanth lost his way after a solid start against Rajiv Ouseph and allowed Delhi Acers to run away with the tie in the Premier Badmint­on League at (PBL) Siri Fort Sports Complex on Friday.

Bengaluru, who had lost the opening contest as well as Acers’ trump match, were banking on their premier purchase Srikanth to keep them afloat in the tie. But Srikanth came a cropper with his 4-15, 15-11, 15-9 loss to render the remaining two matches, which included the trump match of Bengaluru, inconsequential. 

In fact, Bengaluru could log their first point only through their trump match where Sou Di beat Shikha Gautam 15-5, 15-6 and bridged the gap to 4-2.

Before that Srikanth began on expected lines and smashed his way to swiftly win the first game. But Ouseph, the 2010 Commonwealth Games silver winner, bounced back in the second.  He forced more rallies, and brought in variations to fight his way to parity.

Srikanth, on the other hand, slumped to a slew of errors and could never recover. 
Ouseph jumped to 8-4 lead at the interval of the decider and hung on. A muffed up smash from Srikanth gave Ouseph the match point and a long return, the decisive win.    

“I was a bit nervous in the first game and couldn't get a proper rhythm.  But I understood the game of Srikanth and played according to his style. I focused more on my surprise shot.  I was then more confident in the third game,” said Ouseph.

Earlier, Ajay Jayaram provided Acers the winning start when he dispatched Sameer Verma 15-10, 15-12. Jayaram broke away from 6-6 deadlock and quickly climbed to the position of strength before sealing the issue with a smash. 

There was no let up from him in the second game even as Verma showed resilience by clawing his way from 2-8 deficit to drawing level at 10-10. But Jayaram stepped up the ante to cull out a healthy lead and was punching the air after closing out the game and match with a jump smash.

The Acers then kept up their good record in the trump matches. The men’s double pair of Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong once again stamped their supremacy, this time with a convincing 15-9, 15-10 victory over  Hoon Thein How and Khim Wah Lim and put Delhi in drivers’ seat with a 3-0 lead.

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