Chennai Smashers became the third team to qualify for the semi-finals of PBL 2017 as they overcame Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in Bangalore.
Match 1: P. Kashyap (CHE) vs HS Prannoy (MUM)
The tie started off with the first men’s singles as Chennai’s P. Kashyap squared off against Mumbai’s HS Prannoy.
Prannoy showed some good net play and quick movement on the court as he started off on the front foot, taking a 6-4 lead into the break of the first game. Kashyap tried to showcase a comeback, but an agile Prannoy would have none of that as he took the game 11-9. Kashyap showed more intensity going into the second game and playing some clever, accurate shots to take a healthy 6-3 lead into the half. However, Prannoy slowly clawed his way back into the game after some smart play near the net combined with powerful smashes to convert his second match point and win the game 13-11 and match in straight sets, giving Mumbai the first point of the evening.
Result: HS Prannoy (MUM) beat P. Kashyap (CHE) 11-9 13-11
Match 2: Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock (CHE) vs Chirag Shetty/Nadiezda Zieba (MUM)
The Smashers called for a trump as their ever reliable pair of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock took to the court against Chirag Shetty and Nadiezda Zieba in the mixed doubles encounter for match 2. Chirag Shetty was making his first appearance of the tournament this season.
Shetty and Zieba made a surprisingly strong start as they dominated to take a 6-3 lead into the break of the first game. There was no slack in their efforts after the break either, despite the Adcocks’ best efforts to stage a comeback, as Shetty and Zieba stayed calm to edge 11-9 in the first game. The Adcocks though, started to showcase their excellent on-court chemistry, playing some smart shots to take a commanding 6-1 lead at the break of the second game. They continued their relentless form after the break and finished off the second game in no time, with a 11-2 score to win. The Adcocks started off where they left in the deciding set and fought their way to a 6-4 lead at the half. They never loosened their grip on the match and were in control to win the deciding game 11-7, and the trump match for Chennai, handing them a 2-1 lead over Mumbai.
Result: Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock (CHE) beat Chirag Shetty/Nadiezda Zieba (MUM) 9-11 11-2 11-7
Match 3: Tommy Sugiarto (CHE) vs Ajay Jayaram (MUM)
The third match of the evening witnessed the second men’s single of the night featuring Smashers’ Tommy Sugiarto against Rockets’ Ajay Jayaram.
The players matched each other stride for stride in the opening game, with both cautious of the others’ movements on the court, but it was Jayaram who managed to edge into a 6-5 lead at the half. He continued playing some composed badminton and Sugiarto made some glaring errors as Jayaram took the first game 11-8. Sugiarto though started the second game with a bang, playing some strong shots, and it was Jayaram this time with the errors as the Smashers’ man galloped to a 6-1 lead at the break. Sugiarto was relentless after the half, not allowing Jayaram even a sniff at any opportunity, as he took the second game comfortably with a 11-2 score line. Sugiarto took his momentum into the deciding game as Jayaram continued to make costly errors, handing Sugiarto a 6-2 lead at the break. Sugiarto never looked back from thereon as he dominated to easily take the third game, courtesy of an 11-5 scoreline, and hand his team a 3-1 lead in the tie.
Result: Tommy Sugiarto (CHE) beat Ajay Jayaram (MUM) 8-11 11-2 11-5
Match 4: PV Sindhu (CHE) vs Sung Ji Hyun (MUM)
Match 4 was the most anticipated encounter of the evening as Smashers’ marquee player PV Sindhu took on world number three and Mumbai’s most expensive player, Sung Ji Hyun in the women’s singles.
Both players went toe-to-toe in the first game covering the court well and hit some powerful shots. Sung Ji, though, managed to take a slender 6-5 advantage into the break. However, Sindhu soon overturned the deficit after the break and showed speed in her court coverage and power in her shots to take the first game 11-8. Sindhu took her good form into the second game and did not allow Hyun much breathing space, taking a healthy 6-3 lead into the break. Hyun gave the 2016 Olympic silver medalist a good run for her money after the break and even saved two match points, but there was no stopping Sindhu as she took the game 12-10, and with that the match in straight sets. That victory gave Chennai an unassailable 4-1 lead on the evening, taking the tie away from Mumbai’s reach.
Result: PV Sindhu (CHE) beat Sung Ji Hyun (MUM) 11-8 12-10
Match 5: Chris Adcock/Mads Pieler Kolding (CHE) vs Lee Yong Dae/Nipithphon P. (MUM)
The final encounter of the tie involved the men’s doubles featuring a showdown between the Smashers’ pair of Chris Adcock and Mads Kolding against the Rockets’ trump pairing of Nipithphon P. and Lee Yong Dae.
Lee and Nipithphon started the game with some dominating badminton, completely dictating play as they took a 6-2 lead into the break. They then steamed away after the break playing some powerful shots to take the first game in the blink of an eye by virtue of an 11-3 score line. They showed no signs of slowing down in the second game either, as they raced away to a 6-3 lead at the break. The Mumbai pair were relentless as usual after the half and had no problem wrapping up the match by winning the second game 11-5. It was too late to save the tie though as they lost by a 4-3 margin, but those three points took the already-qualified Rockets to the top spot in the table.
Result: Lee/Nipithphon (MUM) beat Adcock/Kolding (CHE) 11-3 11-5
Match Result: Chennai Smashers beat Mumbai Rockets 4-3