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Rediff.com  » Sports » Axelsen guides Bengaluru Blasters to win in PBL

Axelsen guides Bengaluru Blasters to win in PBL

January 01, 2018 23:51 IST

Viktor Axelsen

IMAGE: Viktor Axelsen reigns supreme. Photograph: PBL/Twitter

World champion Viktor Axelsen staved off a strong challenge from World No 5 Korean Son Wan Ho as Bengaluru Blasters blanked Mumbai Rockets 6-(-1) in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) in Lucknow on Monday.

 

The dominating run of Bengaluru Blasters took them to the top of the table with 11 points, while Mumbai Rockets sunk to the bottom with six points.

Playing the Trump match for the Blasters, World No 1 Axelsen dismantled Son 15-6, 15-13 to hand his team an unassailable 4-0 lead after three matches in the five-game contest at the BBD UPBA in Lucknow.

Mumbai then lost their Trump match played by Sameer Verma to go into the negative and also suffered defeat in the men's doubles fifth match to cut a sorry figure.

It was perfect platform for Axelsen as he came into the match with his side leading 2-0 after mixed doubles pair of N Sikki Reddy and Kim Sa Rang and women's singles player Kirsty Gilmour won their respective matches.

Axelsen sealed the match for Benguluru before Chong Wei Feng piled further misery on the struggling Mumbai side with a 9-15, 15-8, 15-6 win over Sameer Verma in the fourth match as the score read 5-(-1).

Men's doubles pair of Mathias Boe and Kim Sa Rang then completed the drubbing as they eked out a thrilling 9-15, 15-10, 15-14 win over Lee Yong Dae and Boon Heong in the fifth match.

Earlier, Axelsen did not disappoint the crowd who had braved the chilly weather and swarmed to the stadium in numbers on the first day of the new year.

Axelsen who has been in impeccable form throughout the season began on a sound note winning the opening game without facing much of a resistance. The Korean looked completely out of sorts and never could mount any challenge.

In the second game, the Korean got a better measure of the Danish star and did give a better account but Axelsen maintained his composure to seal the tie with a towering smash.

"I have played against him a lot of time and know that he can come back anytime. Everyone saw the way he came back in the second game and it was very crucial for me to stay focussed throughout. I am happy to have pulled it off and put my team in the driving seat," Axelsen said after the match.

Earlier in the second match of the day, World No.16 Gilmour extended Bengaluru's lead after she got the better of the USA's Beiwen Zhang, ranked 11th in the world 15-14, 15-8.

The US shuttler got off a blitzy start and won four points on the trot. The Scot tried to crawl her way back but Beiwen clearly looked the better player on the court and went into the interval 8-5.

She maintained her stronghold on the match and was cruising her way to win the game. She was leading 11-6 and it was almost certain she would seal the deal. But Gilmour showed great resiliency and worked her way up to eventually win the game.

The Bengaluru player started from where she left in the second game and was in her imperious best as even though Beiwen tried to stay in the match, the 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist eventually closed the affair.

In the opening match of the tie, Sikki and Rang beat Mumbai duo of M R Arjun and Gabriela Stoeva 15-8, 10-15, 15-10 to log the opening points. 

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