Acers edge Smashers to reach PBL finals

Tommy Sugiarto delivered a match-winning performance as the Delhi Acers beat the Chennai Smashers 4-3 to become the first side to qualify for the final of the Premier Badminton League.

Delhi took a 1-0 lead after their men’s doubles duo Koon Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong defeated Chris Adcock and Pranaav Jerry Chopra 15-10, 15-14, fending off a second-game comeback from the Chennai duo in the second game to prevail in straight games.

The Acers soon doubled their advantage, with Ajay Jayaram coming from a game down to defeat the dangerous Sony Kuncoro 14-15, 15-10, 15-7 in the opening men’s singles contest.

The Smashers pulled one back in the mixed doubles, with Chris Adcock teaming up with Pia Zebadiah to beat his wide Gabrielle Adcock and Koon Kien Keat 15-9, 15-14.

Chennai had selected the fourth match of the tie, the women’s singles contest, as their Trump match, pinning their hopes on PV Sindhu, and the gamble paid off as the Indian shuttler beat her countrywoman PC Thulasi 15-6, 15-7.

With the two points earned from their Trump match triumph, the Smashers now led 3-2 going into the deciding men’s singles contest, which the Acers had selected as their trump match.

The permutations were simple – the winner of the match between Tommy Sugiarto and Brice Leverdez would send their team through to the final.

Sugiarto had been a star performer for Delhi throughout the competition, and he didn’t disappoint when it mattered, grinding out a tense 15-11, 15-14 victory to send the Smashers packing and his team soaring into Sunday’s final.