Lucknow: Russia's Vladimir Ivanov turned out to be the star performer for Mumbai Rockets as he guided his team to a thrilling 4-3 victory over Bengaluru Top Guns in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) in Lucknow on Wednesday.
Earlier, Chennai Smashers put up a clinical display to outplay Delhi Acers 4-3 and register their second consecutive win in an exciting encounter.
Thailand's Suo Di and Kidambi Srikanth won their matches for Bengaluru, who had lost their last match against Hyderabad Hunters. However, Mumbai, who had also faced a 2-3 defeat in their last match against Chennai Smashers, scored through men's doubles pair of Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov and men's singles player RMV Gurusaidutt.
In the end it was Ivanov and Liu Zi Die who earned that victory for Mumbai in the mixed doubles contest.
Bangalore drew the first blood in the five-match rubber when Thailand's Suo Di surpassed former world No. 11 Han Li of Mumbai 15-9 11-15 15-7 in the women's singles match to register one point for her team.
Sou di said: "I won the first game quite easily but Han came back strongly to win the second. Thankfully, I hung on to hold the third game and won an important point for our team."
Men's doubles pair of Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov then brought Mumbai back in the tie with a thrilling 15-13 15-11 win over Bengaluru's Malaysian pair of Hoon Thien How and Kim Wah Lim in their trump match to log two points.
Gurusaidutt swelled the lead for Mumbai Rockets with a 15-7 15-13 win over Banguluru's Anand Pawar in the first men's singles match.
Lagging 1-3, Srikanth took the onus on himself to bring Bangaluru back into the contest through their trump match and the World No. 9 did that in style with a 15-9 15-8 win over World No. 20 H S Prannoy in the second singles.
Srikanth said, "We desperately wanted to win this game after back to back losses. The win ensures that the tie is still alive and from here it can be anyone's match. I am positive that we will win the next one and the tie I am excited to witness the upcoming clash."
With scores level at 3-3, Ivanov once again took the court and this time paired up with Liu Zi Die and notched up a 15-12 11-15 15-9 win over Ashwini and Robert.
The Smashers had earlier defeated Mumbai Rockets 3-2 in their opening tie two days ago. For Delhi Acers, it is their second straight defeat, having lost 2-3 to Sania Nehwal-led Awadhe Warriors yesterday.
It was the Smashers who started the tie on a positive note, winning the men's doubles match. In the opening match of tie, the pair of Chris Adcock and Pranaav Jerry Chopra got the better of Malaysian duo of Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong 15-12 15-14 in the men's doubles match to give Chennai the lead.
But India's Ajay Jayaram brought Delhi Acers back in contention with a dominating performance to tame Simon Santosa 15-6 15-9 in just 26 minutes in the first men's singles to level the scores for his side.
Jayaram, playing his first match of the league, was understandably happy with the positive start.
"This was my first match of the league and plus I had the responsibility of opening my team's account in the tie today, so a win was the only option for me. I enjoyed the game especially the drop shots which never allowed Simon (Santosa) to get settled," he said after the win.
The mixed doubles match was a battle between husband and wife, Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock. While Chris turned out for Chennai Smashers partnering Pia Zebadiah, Gabrielle paired with Koo Keat Kien and represented Delhi Acers.
It was a hard-fought encounter which went down to the wire but in the end Chris had the last laugh as he and his partner came from a game down to edge past his Gabrielle and Koo Keat Kien 14-15 15-4 15-14 in a neck-and-neck fight that went for 42 minutes to give Chennai Smashers a 2-1 lead.
World no. 12 and two-time World Championship bronze medallist PV Sindhu then turned out for the Chennai outfit in their Trump Match and hardly broke a sweat to get past PV Thulasi 15-5 15-4 to seal the women's singles affair.
It was neck and and neck till the first two points of the opening game before Sindhu pocketed six straight points to race to a 8-2 lead.
Thulasi managed to sneak a point or two but she was no match for the two-time World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu, who sealed the game 15-5 in just 10 minutes.
The second game was no different as in no time Sindhu took a 10-3 lead over her opponent, who looked completely out
From there on victory was a just a formality for the lanky Hyderabadi girl, ranked 12th in the world, as he wrapped up the match in just 24 minutes to give Chennai Smashers an unassailable 4-1 lead.
In the final match of the tie, Delhi Acers fielded world no.11 Tommy Sugiarto for the Trump Match and he did not disappoint his side, recording an easy 15-4 15-11 win over Brice Leverdez, but it was not enough to give the Delhi side their elusive first win in the tournament.