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Table Tennis

ShazA? Challengers edge out Dabang Smashers TTC 15-12 in a thriller

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ShazA? Challengers edged out Dabang Smashers TTC 15-12 in a thrilling tieA�on Day 2 of the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the Nehru Indoor Stadium inA�ChennaiA�on Friday.

Challengers
Ying Han of Shaze Challengers in action during the Tie 2 match of the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis

Portuguese world No. 14 Marcos Freitas put Dabang Smashers TTC ahead with a 2-1 victory (11-3,A�11-6, 10-11) over Indian Soumyajit Ghosh in the mena��s singles (Foreign vs Indian) clash.

Left-handed Freitas jumped to a 5-2 lead in the opening game before closing it out in aggressiveA�style. Ghosh came back strongly in the second game and he even led 4-3 before Freitas beat backA�the Indiana��s challenge to race to a 9-6 lead before sealing the game.

Challengers
Marcos Freitas Captain of Dabang Smashers TTC in action during the Tie 2 match of the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis

Freitas broke away to a 5-3 lead in the third game but Ghosh clawed back to 9-9 and held his nerveA�to earn a point for his team, ShazA? Challengers, by winning the third game.

Womena��s world No. 9 Han Ying brushed aside an error-prone Madhurika Patkar of Dabang SmashersA�TTC 3-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-6) to give ShazA? Challengers a slight edge on points (4-2).

Ying, a China-born German, was at her defensive best while Madhurika lapsed into a series ofA�unforced errors in the first two games and didna��t quite recover thereafter.

ChallengersThe pairing of Petrissa Solja & Soumyajit Ghosh of ShazA? Challengers beat Kou Lei & MadhurikaA�Patkar of Dabang Smashers TTC 3-0 (11-9, 11-8, 11-4) in the mixed doubles (Foreign-Indian pair) toA�further extend their sidea��s grip on the tie by taking a 7-2 lead on points.

Kou Lei of Dabang Smashers TTC beat Andrej Gacina of ShazA? Challengers 2-1 (11-9, 11-9, 9-11) toA�bring Dabang Smashers TTC back into the contest in the fourth match, mena��s singles (Foreign playerA�category).

World No. 9 Han Ying won her second match of the day for ShazA? Challengers.A�After dropping the opening game to North Korean world No. 19 Kim Song I, YingA�won the next two in the womena��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 Challengersa��s overall lead toA�10-5.

Andrej Gacina, a top-50 player, was stretched by Smashers’ Anthony Amalraj before theA�Croat pulled through 2-1 (10-11, 11-2, 11-9) in a tight mena��s singles (India v Foreign)A�encounter to extend Challengersa��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) inA�womena��s singles (Foreign v Indian) to help Smashers stage a late recovery, reducingA�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) inA�the mena��s singles for foreign players to bring his team right back into the contestA�by reducing their deficit to 11-13 going into the daya��s finalA�match.

However, Challengers’A�Petrissa Solja won her opening game 11-5 against UkrainianA�Tetyana Bilenko in the womena��s singles for foreigners. Bilenko won the next 11-6 but Solja won theA�final game 11-10 to hand Challengers a victorious 15-12 verdict.

On Saturday, Oilmax-Stag Yoddas will take on DHFL Maharashtra United.

Follow the author on twitter – @gavkadam

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