Smashers reign supreme

Premier Badminton League : Sindhu leads Chennai's exciting title triumph

Smashers reign supreme

 Tanongsak Saemsomboonsuk notched a thrilling win over Ajay Jayaram in the decider as Chennai Smashers clinched their maiden Premier Badminton League title at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Saturday. Smashers posted a 4-3 win over Mumbai Rockets, who for the second successive year had to finish runners up.

With the teams level at 3-3, Saemsomboonsuk emerged the hero as he rallied to beat Jayaram 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, triggering celebrations in the Chennai camp.

In the evening, P V Sindhu had got the crowd behind her after Smashers were sent on their way by Chris and Gaby Adcock in their trump match. The husband-wife duo beat Nipitphon Puangpuapech and Nadiezda Zieba 11-9, 11-6 in the mixed doubles to give Smashers a flying start and two crucial points.

Sindhu, playing Sung Ji Hyun, gave another impressive account of herself. The 21-year-old Indian, with her power and speed, smashed her way to 11-8, 11-8 victory despite Sung putting up a keen fight. The contest witnessed long rallies but the Olympic silver medallist managed to nose ahead 6-5 by the interval of the opening game. Against a confident and attacking Sindhu, Sung slumped to uncharacteristic errors, and the tall Indian held four game points at 10-7 when the Korean fumbled to pick up a low return at the net. Sindhu took the lead when Sung’s return sailed long.

Sindhu was pushed by Sung in the first half of the second game, but the Indian broke away after the interval, conjuring an 8-5 lead with a down the line smash. She held five match points at 10-6. Sung saved two before Sindhu sealed the match with another pin-point powerful smash. Sindhu’s victory put Smashers ahead by 3-0.
Under pressure to stay alive in the contest, Mumbai's Lee Young Dae and Nipitphon combined fabulously in the men’s doubles to beat Adcock and Mads Pieler Kolding 12-10, 11-6. The win helped Rockets to bridge the gap to 3-2.

Mumbai then drew level through HS Prannoy who maintained his unbeaten streak in seven matches in the tournament. He overcame a stubborn fight from Parupalli Kashyap 11-4, 8-11, 11-8. With fast-paced, attacking shots, Prannoy raced to the first game before Kashyap came into his element in the second game to level the scores. Kashyap hurt his shoulder while diving for a return in the decider but hung on. Prannoy, however, closed the match when Kashyap’s return sailed long. At 3-3, Mumbai’s hopes soared but Saemsonboonsuk stepped it up to seal it for Chennai.

Results: Chennai Smashers bt Mumbai Rockets 4-3: (Mixed doubles (Trump match for Chennai Smashers): Chris Adcock/ Gaby Adcock bt Nipitphon Puangpuapech/ Nadiezda Zieba 11-9, 11-6. Women’s singles: PV Sindhu bt Sung Ji Hyun 11-8, 11-8, Men’s doubles: (Trump match for Mumbai Rockets): Chris Adcock/ Mads Pieler Kolding lt to Nipitphon Puangpuapech/ Lee Young Dae 10-12, 6-11, Men’s singles: Parupalli Kashyap lt to HS Prannoy 4-11, 11-8, 8-11;  Tanongsak Saemsomboonsuk bt Ajay Jayaram 9-11, 11-7, 11-3).

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