PBL: Viktor Axelsen dazzles on court as Bengaluru Blasters beat Delhi Dashers

first_imgWorld No.1 Viktor Axelsen eased past Tian Houwei of China 15-11, 15-11 to win the tie for Bengaluru Blasters against Delhi Dashers in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the Siri Fort Sports Complex  in New Delhi on Thursday.With Axelsen’s winning the Trump match for Bengaluru, they took an unassailable 4-2 lead in the tie, which eventually became 5-2 after the final match of the night  as Delhi slumped to their second defeat of the season.Bengaluru, who were playing their first tie of the season, won both their men’s singles match including their trump match, their mixed and men’s doubles encounter, while Delhi could managed just their own Trump match, the women’s singles.Viktor came into the league at the back of his Dubai World Super Series title and he put up a dominating display in front of the Delhi crowd.ALSO WATCHAs Viktor dazzled with a no-look push and piruvet backhand shot, the world No.22 Chinese could only manage to hold the world  No.1 at bay for some time.Viktor began the game on a high note racing to a 5-2 lead. The Chinese tried to stop the juggernaut but Viktor eventually went into the break 8-6 with a brilliant drop at the net.Houwei attempted to counter Viktor’s backcourt forehands by playing an all-court game and hitting the lines but the Danish superstar easily negated it with his strong wristplay to win the opening game.Viktor continued the same onslaught in the second game as well and Houwei had no answers. Viktor’s barrage of smashes rattled Houwei to the T and sealed the match for his side.advertisementEven though it was curtains for the Delhi Dashers after the fourth match, the Russian pair of Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov, ranked eighth in the World, tried to salvage a point for their team.However, they failed to negate Kim Said Rang’s hard smashes and Mathias Boe’s all-court play and 9-15, 12-15.Earlier, world No. 6 Sung Ji Hyun of Korea beat Kirsty Gilmour, ranked 16th in the world, 15-10, 8-15, 15-5 to help Delhi Dashers draw level with Bengaluru Blasters 2-2 in the tie, with her match being Delhi’s trump.Both the players matched each other stroke by stroke in the first game but Kirsty went into the break with a slender 8-7 lead.After the break, Sung Ji came out all guns blazing and wrapped up the first game 15-10.Kirsty game back strong in the second game and executed her nets shots and deceptive gameplan to perfection. Putting Sung Ji at the backfoot, Kirsty won the second game 15-8 to force the match into the decider.However in the decider, the World Championship bronze medalist got her act together and turned the tides on Kirsty and dominated her from the word go to win the final game 15-5.In the other men’s singles match, world No.45 Chong Wei Fan of Malaysia came back from a game down to upset world No.15 Wong Wing Ki Vincent from Hong Kong 10-15, 15-13, 15-8 to hand Bengaluru a 2-0 lead early in the tie.The Hong Kong shuttler adapted a clever strategy in the opening game and involved his opponent into long rallies. Chong played into the trap and despite being pushed to the edge of the court, he tried to go for powerplay that cost him dear as he lost the opening game 15-10.It was a neck-and-neck battle in the second game with both the players matching their strokes and the Malaysian topped Vincent 15-13.In the decider, Chong Wei completely changed his strategy replicating Vincent’s gameplay. Rather than going for hard strokes, he pushed his opponent long and deceived him with his elegant drops.Vincent got completely rattled as he had no answers to Chong’s brilliant play and went down 8-15, failing to get Delhi into the tie.In the first match of the tie, Bengaluru’s mixed doubles pair of Kim Sa Rang and Sikki Reddy walloped Delhi’s Vladimir Ivanov and Ashwini Ponnappa 15-10, 12-15, 15-11 to go 1-0 up.last_img

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