World championship silver medalist PV Sindhu did the star turn for the defending champions Chennai Smashers as they beat Ahmedabad Smash Masters 3-2 (2-1 on points) to keep alive their slim chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Premier Badminton League here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Saturday, January 6.
After winning her women's singles match against the mighty Tai Tzu Ying, Sindhu teamed up for a makeshift pair with Sumeeth Reddy to pull off a scintillating 15-14, 15-13 victory over Masters' mixed doubles pair of Lee Chun Hei Reginald/Kamilla Rytter Juhl to steer Chennai to victory.
Even though the points earned do not put them away from harm's way, they are still in the contention for the last four stages. Chennai are currently placed seventh on the points tale with 9 points to their tally, while Ahmedabad are in third place with 12 points.
HS Prannoy's unbeaten PBL run comes to an end
Earlier, in the second men's singles of the day, Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand caused the biggest upset of the tournament as he beat World No.10 H.S Prannoy to keep Chennai going in the tie.
Down 0-1 down in the tie after the Yellow brigade lost their trump match, the onus was on the Thai shuttler who won the crucial match last season to hand Chennai the chance to stay in the tie.
He did not disappoint as he overcame a strong challenge from Prannoy to win 15-12, 12-15, 15-14 and bring Chennai back into the contest. The win also saw Tanongsak end Prannoy's buoyant 10-match unbeaten run in the Vodafone Premier Badminton League.
Chennai lose Trump match
In the third match of the day, Sourabh Verma came back from a game down to beat Chennai Smashers trump player Brice Leverdez 12-15, 15-14, 15-12 to push Chennai Smashers towards the wall in the tie. This win sent Ahmedabad 2-1 up (2-0 up on points) in the five match duel.
The Frenchmen was pushed on the back-initially and went down 6-8 early on in the match. But Sourabh could not maintain his dominance and Brice exerted his dominance to win the game.
In the second game, the 31-year old was cruising his way to victory but his error-prone play saw Sourabh save three match points to force the match into the third game.
In third game, Brice got off to great start but the Indian was in no mood to let go of the momentum and despite being down for major period of the game, he finally won to deal to a huge blow to Chennai Smashers.
Tai Tzu Ying handed first PBL defeat
Earlier, Sindhu registered a stunning victory over Tai, the World No.1 Chinese Taipei shuttler to help Smashers draw level against Smash Masters.
It was a huge win for Chennai as they were 0-1 down in the tie and a Sindhu loss would have put them in a very precarious position but the champion shuttler not disappoint as she beat Tai Tzu 15-11, 10-15, 15-12 to keep the Smashers alive in this do-or-die contest. This was Tai Tzu's first loss of the Vodafone PBL season.
Chennai who came into the tie last on the standings with seven points to their tally need a need as a loss here will end their hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages.
The Taiwanese shuttler who came at the back of a stunning win over Saina Nehwal started from where she left and she was literally unplayable and deceived the Indian with her clever drops. She raced to an 8-5 lead and it looked like she would close the game without much of a competition from Sindhu. However, after the break Sindhu, heavily strapped on right thigh was a much different player and switched gears to eventually seize the momentum and go up in the match.
In the second game, Sindhu cashed in on Tai Tzu's initial mistakes and blitz to an early lead. But Tai Tzu came back strong to lead 8-6 at the break. After the breather, even though Sindhu started the proceeding winning two consecutive points, it was the World No.1 player who maintained her composure to finish the game to take the match into the decider.
In the third game, Sindhu took the charge early and aided by her opponent's unforced errors went into the breather 8-6. After the change of ends, Tai Tzu known for her ability to bounce back from the dead did that to keep herself in the contest and gave Sindhu no place to breathe. But Sindhu remained cool as an ice and with scores tied 12-12; she won three straight points to send the packed stadium into a euphoric mood.
"It was a great win and I feel I did extremely well to beat Tai Tzu. She played very well and I am really happy to have won the match. The crowd was extremely motivating and their support helped me a lot in getting this win," Sindhu said after the match.
In the first match of the day, men's doubles pair of Lee Chun Hei Reginald/Kidambi Nandagopal beat the pair of Chris Adcock/Lee Yang 15-13,15-12 to steer Ahmedabad Smash Masters register first point of the day.
In the opening game, it was a close contest with both the teams looking in great shape. Even though it was a tight contest the Smash Masters went on to win the game to seize the early initiative into the match.
However, the Chennai pair bounced back and looked to be a better pair on the court in the opening game. They went into the interval leading 8-5. They way Adcock/Lee were playing it looked like they would go onto draw level but the Ahmedabad pair had different plans as they changed gears after the break to race their way to victory help Ahmedabad Smash Masters open their account in the lead.
MD – Lee Chun Hei Reginald/ Kidambi Nandagopal bt Chris Adcock/Lee Yang 15-13,15-12
WS- PV Sindhu vs Tai Tzu Ying - 15-11, 10-15, 15-12
MS- H.Sourabh Verma bt Brice Leverdez [T]- 12-15, 15-14, 15-12
MS – Tanongsak Saemsomboonsuk vs H.S Prannoy [T] - 12-15, 15-14, 15-12
XD – PV Sindhu/B.Sumeeth Reddy vs Lee Chun Hei Reginald/Kamilla Rytter Juhl – 15-14, 15-13
Points table as on January 6
|Ahmedabad Smash Masters||4||12|
|North Eastern Warriors||4||11|