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PBL: Marin, Lakshya help Pune 7 Aces stay in contention for a semi-final berth


Ahmedabad, January 6: Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin and Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen combined to take the Pune 7 Aces to a 5-0 win over the struggling Delhi Dashers at the Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 4 at The Arena by SE TransStadia, here on Sunday.

2012 Olympic silver medallist Mathias Boe also made a comeback and gave his team a crucial win in men’s doubles alongside Chirag Shetty in what was a dominant performance by the Aces.

Pune thus move up to the third position with 17 points earned from 6 matches and 5 trumps wins. However, with the fourth-placed Awadhe Warriors and the fifth-placed Bengaluru Raptors having played 2 ties less than Pune, the Aces’ fate depends on the outcome of the Warriors and the Raptors matches.

World No. 32 Evgeniya Kosetskaya was absolutely no match for Marin, the skipper and icon player of Pune. The Spaniard had pummelled the Russian in the European Championships final last year and today was no exception as the match was wrapped in 20 minutes.

Marin had lost her last match to Sung Ji Hyun of the Chennai Smashers and she was ready to make a statement. Refusing to put her foot wrong, the three-time world champion used her speed, power, attack to great effect to race ahead to 11-3 and got the opening game 15-5.

From 8-4, the second game moved in the same direction before Marin closed out the match 15-5, 15-6.

Reigning Asian Junior Champion Lakshya Sen did his bit with a 15-12, 15-11 victory over his elder brother Chirag Sen. The 17-year-old former junior World No. 1 made his mark early on in the match. Being highly aggressive, he inched ahead to 8-6 but a couple of errors brought the older Sen back into contention at 12-12 before Lakshya wrested away the control.

In the second game, Chirag led till 5-4 only to see a calm and steady Lakshya snatch the lead and go up to 12-9 through some deft touches at the net that put him in the path to victory.

Pune fielded Mathias Boe and Chirag Shetty against Delhi’s Trump pair of Maneepong Jongjit and Chai Biao. It was on the Dashers duo to try and salvage some pride for their tottering team and they made their intentions clear when they pocketed the first game 15-9.

However, that was all they could do for the Pune pair soon came storming back into the match. Shetty and Boe erased a 0-4 deficit to draw level at 6-6. The momentum soon shifted to their side and they grabbed the second game 15-10.

The decider was high quality and pretty competitive with not much to choose between the two. Mathias and Chirag stayed ahead by one point at 10-9 and simply accelerated from thereon to get the 9-15, 15-10, 15-13 triumph.

Earlier in the day, the mixed doubles pair of Vladimir Ivanov and Line Kjaersfeldt was given the responsibility of Pune’s Trump against Delhi’s Maneepong Jongjit and Evgeniya Kosetskaya. And the Pune pair did not disappoint even though they were made to work hard by the Delhi duo.

Ivanov’s hard smashes and Line’s precise placement of the shuttle had already brought the Pune 7 Aces a couple of wins this season. And they brought that form and confidence into this match as well as they got hold of a one-sided first game 15-9.

In the second game, however, they were edged 14-15. That could not deter them as they came back strongly to record a 15-9, 14-15, 15-8 win.

Former World Championships bronze medallist Tommy Sugiarto managed to bring the smiles back for the struggling Season 1 champions in the final rubber of the tie with a fine 15-7, 15-14 win over Pune’s Brice Leverdez.

Source: Press Release

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Story first published: Sunday, January 6, 2019, 21:28 [IST]
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