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PBL: Viktor Axelsen finishes home leg with a win

Ahmedabad, January 6: Ahmedabad Smash Masters skipper Viktor Axelsen bounced back from a three-match losing run to end the home leg on a high at the Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 4 at The Arena by SE TransStadia, here on Sunday.

Axelsen snapped the four-match winning streak of Hyderabad Hunters’ Mark Caljouw who had been in imperious form so far this season.

The former world champion, who is still not 100% fit, was desperately looking for a win to get back on track. Axelsen showed his hunger and determination in oodles by mixing up his smashes with deft touches that put the Dutchman, who is playing his first PBL in an uncomfortable position in the first game. Despite losing an exhilarating 51-shot rally, the Dane pocketed the opener 15-11.

The match had a different complexion from the midpoint of the second game. Caljouw found his rhythm to move ahead to 8-5 as Axelsen went off the boil. Even though the Dane regrouped to make it 10-10, the Hunters player could still get the game at 15-13.

Order was restored in the decider. With the crowd rooting vociferously for the lanky Dane, Axelsen found his game once more. He first built an 8-3 lead before finishing it off 15-11, 13-15, 15-8 in a 48 minutes long against the Dutch.

Earlier in the day, the defending champions started the tie on a positive note with their mixed doubles pair of Bodin Isara and Eom Hye Won beating the Ahmedabad duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Sikki Reddy 15-14, 15-9. Bodin and Eom simply upped the intensity from an 11-11 tie to take the opening game on a golden point.

The second game was way more hassle-free for the Hyderabad duo. From 4-4, they grabbed four consecutive points and never let the Smash Masters come back into the match.

There is a huge gulf in the world rankings between Ahmedabad’s World No. 23 Daren Liew and Hyderabad’s 146th ranked Rahul Yadav Chittaboina. The two have faced off only once before which went in favour of the Malaysian.

Sunday was no exception as Liew beat him 15-13, 15-9 to win the Trump for Ahmedabad and give his team a vital lead in the score. Chittaboina did show some spirited fightback to draw level at 12-12 after initially trailing 7-10 but it was not enough to make a dent in the confidence level of Liew.

Source: Press Release

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Story first published: Sunday, January 6, 2019, 22:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 6, 2019
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