Shazè Challengers edged out Dabang Smashers TTC 15-12 in a thrilling tie on Day 2 of the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Friday.
Portuguese world No. 14 Marcos Freitas put Dabang Smashers TTC ahead with a 2-1 victory (11-3, 11-6, 10-11) over Indian Soumyajit Ghosh in the men’s singles (Foreign vs Indian) clash.
Left-handed Freitas jumped to a 5-2 lead in the opening game before closing it out in aggressive style. Ghosh came back strongly in the second game and he even led 4-3 before Freitas beat back the Indian’s challenge to race to a 9-6 lead before sealing the game.
Freitas broke away to a 5-3 lead in the third game but Ghosh clawed back to 9-9 and held his nerve to earn a point for his team, Shazè Challengers, by winning the third game.
Women’s world No. 9 Han Ying brushed aside an error-prone Madhurika Patkar of Dabang Smashers TTC 3-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-6) to give Shazè Challengers a slight edge on points (4-2).
Ying, a China-born German, was at her defensive best while Madhurika lapsed into a series of unforced errors in the first two games and didn’t quite recover thereafter.
The pairing of Petrissa Solja & Soumyajit Ghosh of Shazè Challengers beat Kou Lei & Madhurika Patkar of Dabang Smashers TTC 3-0 (11-9, 11-8, 11-4) in the mixed doubles (Foreign-Indian pair) to further extend their side’s grip on the tie by taking a 7-2 lead on points.
Kou Lei of Dabang Smashers TTC beat Andrej Gacina of Shazè Challengers 2-1 (11-9, 11-9, 9-11) to bring Dabang Smashers TTC back into the contest in the fourth match, men’s singles (Foreign player category).
World No. 9 Han Ying won her second match of the day for Shazè Challengers. After dropping the opening game to North Korean world No. 19 Kim Song I, Ying won the next two in the women’s singles for foreign players for a 6-11, 11-9, 11-10 in what was a nail-biting finish in the decider to extend Challengers’s overall lead to 10-5.
Andrej Gacina, a top-50 player, was stretched by Smashers’ Anthony Amalraj before the Croat pulled through 2-1 (10-11, 11-2, 11-9) in a tight men’s singles (India v Foreign) encounter to extend Challengers’s lead to 12-6.
But Kim Song I, in her second match, thrashed her opponent Mouma Das 3-0 (11-8, 11-8, 11-6) in women’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to help Smashers stage a late recovery, reducing Challengers’ lead to 12-9.
Freitas Gers the Challengers Back on Track
It was then for skipper Freitas to beat China-born Qatari Li Ping 2-1 (7-11, 11-6, 11-5) in the men’s singles for foreign players to bring his team right back into the contest by reducing their deficit to 11-13 going into the day’s final match.
However, Challengers’ Petrissa Solja won her opening game 11-5 against Ukrainian Tetyana Bilenko in the women’s singles for foreigners. Bilenko won the next 11-6 but Solja won the final game 11-10 to hand Challengers a victorious 15-12 verdict.
On Saturday, Oilmax-Stag Yoddas will take on DHFL Maharashtra United.
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