Axelsen dashes Delhi hopes, guides Bengaluru to victoryDecember 29, 2017
NEW DELHI: Delhi Dashers started on a poor note, losing the two opening matches to Bengaluru Blasters in the Premier Badminton League here on Thursday. However, the Trump Match got the hosts back into the game. World No. 6 Sung Ji Hyun pulled a big one back for the home team as she upstaged Blasters’ WorldNo. 16 Kirsty Gilmour in the women’s singles match to level the scores at 2-2.
But the hosts could not celebrate for long. Bengaluru got the clash-clinching victory when their WorldNo.1Victor Axelsen beat Delhi’s world No. 11 Tian Houwei in their Trump Match to give Bangalore a 4-2 lead with just a match remaining. The last match, a men’s doubles encounter, became inconsequential after this win.
The first game in this clash saw strong resistance from Houwei, but Axelsen was too good for him. From the time he took the court, it was a given that the Dane would win without much fuss. But the manner in which he outclassed his opponent was a threat to watch. The Dane won the first game 15-11, and the second, which saw some great rallies, by a similar scoreline.
In Delhi’s Trump Match, the women’s singles, Hyun won the opening game without much effort (15-10). The next game tilted the match in favour of Bengaluru as Gilmour won 15-8 but Hyun came back strongly, almost ruthlessly, to destroy her opponent 15-5.
In the first clash, Delhi’s mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Vladimir Ivanov lost to Blasters’ Kim Sa Rang and Sikki Reddy. Ponnappa and her tall partner lost their opening game 10-15but came back in the second one with a 15-12 margin. The third game was a close affair too, but the Bengaluru pair launched some exquisite smashes to seal the issue.
The men’s singles match then gave Bengaluru the much needed advantage, as Delhi’s Vincent Wong Wing Ki, ranked No. 15 in the world, went down to No. 45 Chong Wei Feng 15-10, 13-15, 8-15.