Bengaluru: The mixed doubles pair of Chris and Gabriella Adock together with Tommy Sugiarto led Chennai Smashers into the semifinals of the Premier Badminton League, pulling off crucial matches against Mumbai Rockets in a 4-1 win, in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
Chennai are placed third with 14 points and still have a chance to end second at the end of the league stage.
The Adock couple trounced their counterpart Chirag Shetty and Nadiezda Zieba of Mumbai 9-11 11-2 11-7 and then Tommy Sugioarto defeated Ajay Jayaram 8-11 11-2 11-5.
After losing the first game, Chennai pair came back strongly, taking the second game in a hurry and pocketed the decider rather convincingly.
After H S Pranoy of Mumbai gave a perfect start, Mumbai mixed doubles started the game brightly, taking a 6-3 lead going into the break in the trump match.
The pair leading 8-5, allowed Chennai pair to bounce back with the score at 9-10, with some delectable and intelligent movements in the court.
The Chennai pair, did not give up, and started the second game with elan, pushing Mumbai on the backfoot, with the scorecard reading 6-1 into the break. The pair eventually won the game rather easily.
It was upto Tommy Sugiarto to write the semifinal script, and he did it in great style, by winning the contest 8-11, 11-2 and 11-5.
After losing the first game 8-11 to Ajay Jayaram, Sugiarto smashed his way through to take 6-1 lead going into the break, and then trouncing his rival 11-2, making a strong comeback to push the game into the decider.
Going into the decider with tremendous pressure to carry his team into the semifinals, Sugiarto came through strongly with 6-2 lead in the break, and then bagging the match 11-5 to take Chennai into the semis.
In contrast, Pranoy, who remained unbeaten so far in the league, gave a rollicking start to Mumbai, who have already booked a semifinal berth, by trouncing Kashyap 11-9 13-11.
Both the games were neck-and-neck affair with Pranoy prevailing over his rival, who committed errors at crucial stages of the match.
Kashyap was leading 6-3 going into the break in the second game, but lost the plot after he allowed his rival to race past him, with the scorecard reading 9-7. He leveled the scores at 9-9, 10-10 and 11-11, but failed to prevail and lost the match.
The first game also was a very hard-fought battle for Pranoy, who clinched the sea-saw battle at the end.
In the inconsequential fifth match, Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu won 11-8 12-10 against Sung Ji Hyun.