Delhi Acers ground Mumbai Rockets in thriller to clinch PBL title

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New Delhi, Jan 17: Delhi Acers notched up a thrilling 4-3 victory over Mumbai Rockets in the summit clash to clinch the revamped Premier Badminton League (PBL) title at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here today.

Tommy Sugiarto, men's doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong and Rajiv Ouseph won their respective matches as Delhi clinched the trophy and pocketed a winner's cheque of Rs 3 crores.

Delhi Acers' players and officials pose with the trophy after winning the PBL final

Mixed doubles pair of Kamilla Juhl and Vladimir Ivanov thrashed Gabrielle Adcock and Akshay Dewalkar 15-6, 15-12 to draw frist blood for Mumbai Rockets.

In the first men's singles, Tommy Sugiarto then continued his unbeaten run at the tournament as he saw off Mumbai's HS Prannoy 13-15, 15-9, 15-9 to bring Delhi back into the contest.

In the men's doubles match, Ivanov and Mathais Boe played their heart out before going down narrowly 14-15, 15-10, 15-14 to Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong as Delhi grabbed a 2-1 lead after three matches.

China's Han Li, who had beaten World No. 2 Saina Nehwal on Friday to take Mumbai into the finals, then notched up a 12-15 15-8 15-8 win over PC Thulasi in their Trump match to make it 3-2 in Mumbai's favour.

In the deciding match, which was Delhi's Trump match, 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph took the court against RMV Gurusaidutt and he took Delhi across the line by grabbing two points with a 15-11, 15-6 win over the Indian in the last match of the day.

In the first match, Kamilla and Ivanov stamped their authority early as they zoomed to a 8-5 lead at the break. The Denmark shuttler dished out some superb serves to continue their good run and reeled off six points to reach 14-8.

Ivanov hit wide but they grabbed the next point to win the opening game. Adcock and Dewalkar opened up a slender 3-1 lead early on in the second game and reached the interval with a 8-4 cushion.

But Mumbai clawed back when Dewalkar hit wide and then wrested a 12-9 lead with Ivanov in full flow. Kamilla's return took Mumbai to a 14-11 match point. Delhi saved one but a service error sealed it in Mumbai's favour next.

In the second match of the day, Sugiarto, who has not lost a match in PBL, took the court against Prannoy and despite a fight from the Indian lead 8-5 at the break when the latter's smash got buried at the nets.

Prannoy clawed back at 9-9 with a cracking smash and moved into the lead at 12-11 when Sugiarto hit the nets. The Indian moved into the game point at 14-12 with a dribble at net and grabbed the opening game when Sugiarto hit long.

Sugiarto once again nosed ahead, grabbing a 8-3 lead in the second game with a cross court return. With Prannoy struggling with his strokes, Sugiarto ran away with the match to bounce back in the contest.

PTI

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