Topguns fail to make last four

Topguns fail to make last four

Bengaluru Topguns’ slim hopes of making the semifinals of the Premier Badminton League ended in predictable fashion after they lost 1-4 to Chennai Smashers here at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday.

Taking the court for the final league game against the Smashers without having registered an outright win, the Topguns needed to garner the maximum six points from the contest but from the moment Sameer Verma lost the opening singles rubber to Sony Dwi Kuncoro 15-10, 10-15, 15-8, it was all over for the hosts who had hoped for a miracle.

The Smashers though secured third spot in the standings after finishing the league engagements on  17 points. The Delhi Acers (20), playing Mumbai Rockets in the day’s opening contest, sealed top spot with a crushing 5-0 victory. Despite the loss, the Rockets (13) entered the knockouts as the fourth placed team with Awadhe Warriors (17) being the other semifinalist.

In the first semifinals here on Thursday, the Acers will take on the Smashers while Rockets will lock horns with Warriors in the other last-four battle at Hyderabad on Friday.

Verma took guard for the Topguns first and he needed to produce something special against the dangerous Kuncoro, who played the Trump match for the Smashers. Within minutes from the start it seemed the writing was on the wall for the Topguns as Kuncoro dominated the proceedings and took the first game quite comfortably.

With hopes receding, Verma staged a superb comeback in the second game, catching Kuncoro by surprise with his variations. Kuncoro, however, regained his composure in the next game, winning it to secure Smashers’ passage into the last four.

With their fate sealed, Topguns had only pride to play for and they restored it to an extent in the next two rubbers. Thien How and Joachim Fisher Nielsen trounced Chris Adcock and Pranaav Chopra 15-7, 15-8 before captain Kidami Srikanth came out all guns blazing, ripping apart Brice Leverdez 15-4, 15-12.

PV Sindhu, the top player for the Smashers, however put her side 3-2 ahead with a dominating display in the fourth rubber. Oozing with confidence from the word go, the Hyderabadi outclassed the talented Suo Di 15-12, 15-7 in quick time.
Chris Adcock and Pia Zebadiah then added salt to the Topguns’ wounds, romping home to a 15-14, 15- 12 win over the Ashwini Ponappa and Nielsen, the duo playing the Trump game for their side.



Results:

Delhi Acers bt Mumbai Rockets 5-0 (Akshay Dewalker/ Aparna Balan lt to Kamila Juhi/ Vladimir Ivanov 13-15, 11-15, PC Thulasi bt Ruthvika Gadre (Trump) 15-11, 8-15, 15-13; Tommy Sugiarto bt HS Prannoy 15-8, 15-6; Koo Keat Kien/ Tan Boon Hong bt Mathias Boe/ Vladimir Ivanov 11-15, 15-12, 15-10; Rajiv Ouseph (Trump) bt RMV Gurusaidutt 15-7, 15-10).

Chennai Smashers bt Bengaluru Topguns 4-1 (Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Trump) bt Sameer Verma 15-10, 10-15, 15-8; Chris Adcock/ Pranaav Chopra lt to Hoon Thien How/ Joachim Fisher Nielsen 7-15, 8-15; Brice Leverdez lt to Kidambi Srikanth 4-15, 12-15; PV Sindhu bt Suo Di 15-12, 15-7; Chris Adcock/ Pia Zebadiah bt Joachim Fisher Nielsen (Trump) 15-14, 15-12).

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