Shaze Challengers grabbed the initial advantage in their opening game of Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) against Dabang Smashers TTC at the Nehru Indoor stadium here today.
After five matches, Challengers led 10-5 as India's Soumyajit Ghosh went down to Smashers' top star and world number 14 Marcos Freitas. He snatched a game from the fancied Portugal player but lost 3-11, 6-11, 11-10.
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 by winning the third game.
In the second encounter, Madhurika Patkar was no match for Han Ying, going down 6-11, 4-11, 6-11 to give Challengers an early 5-1 lead. The aggressive Ying, a former Chinese, now playing for Germany, played well to rattle the Indian.
In the mixed doubles that followed, Soumyajit Ghosh and Solija Petrissa ran away a 3-0 victor against Kou Lei and Patkar (11-9, 11-8, 11-4) to put the Challengers in a strong position.
Kou Lei, an Ukrainian player of Chinese origin, made amends for the loss in the mixed doubles by beating Andrej Gacina 2-1 (11-9, 11-9, 9-11).
In the fifth match, Kim Song beat Han Ying 11-6, 9-11, 11-10 in a thriller to pull things back for the Smashers.
According to the championship's points system, in each game, whichever individual/pair scores 11 points first shall be declared the winner and his team shall receive one Team Point. Each tie will have nine matches and each match will have three games, so each tie will have 27 games.
The winner of a tie shall be decided by total games, that is total points won, meaning a team that wins 14 or more games of the 27 games shall be declared the winner of that tie.