PBL: Srikant suffers shocking defeat as Delhi Acers extend lead at top
Srikant Kidambi's inconsistency was at display once again, as the Indian shuttler suffered a surprise loss to Rajiv Ouseph despite dominating, and winning, the first game 15-4. Ajay Jayaram continued his impressive form though, as Delhi Acers defeated Bengaluru Topguns 5-2.
Sameer Vermagot off to a good start to the game and took a 3-1 lead. The 21-year-old was aggressive in the opening points, and he forced Jayaram into making few uncharacteristic mistakes. However, the Chennai born tennis star bounced back and won the first game 15-10.
The 28-year-old was more consistent of the two players, and he targeted Verma's body with a lot of his smashes. Jayaram also used the net very well, while Verma struggled with his backhand.
Jayaram continued the momentum in the second game, and raced to an 8-2 lead. He continued his tactics of targeting the body with his smashes, and it provided him with a lot of winners. This ploy also created doubts in Sameer's head. He was slow to react to smashes out-wide, as he expected every shot to come to his body.
However, the youngster showed a lot of resistance by winning five points in a row. He was assisted by three big mistakes by Jayaram – first to misjudge the length of a serve, and then to hit two long returns. Sammer,in fact, took a two-point lead at 12-10, and it seemed like the tie was heading for a third game. But Jayaram won five games in a row to win the game, and with it the tie, 15-12.
In the second match, Delhi's team of Koo Kien and Tan Heong took on Khim Lim and Hoon How. Delhi decided to use their trump in this game, and the gamble paid off with the Malaysian pair continuing their winning run, with a comfortable 15-9, 15-10 win over their opponents.
In the third game, England's Rajiv Ouseph, who has Indian lineage but was born and brought up in London, took on India's best ranked men's player Srikanth Kidambi. The Indian star romped through the first game 15-4, taking a 10-1 lead at one point, and it looked like a routine win awaits the 22-year-old.
Srikant took a 6-3 lead in the second game, but three glaring mistakes – first from a lift, secondly missing a smash, and followed that up with a missed drop shot at the net – and the match turned on its head. Rajiv went on to win the game 15-11 and suddenly an upset was on the cards.
Srikant continued to produce unforced errors in the third game, although Rajiv was technically forcing some of those with an unrestrained style of play – he was playing like a man who has nothing to lose. The Englishman, buoyed on by the vocal supporters, completed the come back and won the third game 15-9.
In the fourth game, Bengaluru decided to play their trump as Suo Di took on Shikha Gautam in the women's singles game. Suo Di did not break a sweat on her way to a one-sided 15-5, 15-6 win and take the score to 4-2.
In the final game, which was inconsequential by that time, was the mixed doubles tie between Gabrielle Adcock- Koo Kien and Ashwini Ponnappa- Khim Lim. It was a close game, but Delhi managed to sneak a 15-14, 9-15, 15-12 win in the end.
Delhi Acers 5-2 Bengaluru Topguns
Ajay Jayaram vs Sameer Verma 15-10, 15-12
Koo Kien/ Tan Heong* vs Khim Lim/ Hoon How 15-9, 15-10
Rajiv Ouseph vs Srikanth Kidambi 4-15, 15-11, 15-9
Shikha Gautam vs Suo Di* 5-15, 6-15
Gabrielle Adcock/ Koo Keat Kien vs Ashwini Ponnappa/ Khim Wah Lim 15-14, 9-15, 15-12
*signifies trump match