Captain Marcos Freitas led the way for Dabang Smashers TTC, winning two rubbers while local lad G Sathiyan surprised Sweden's Par Gerell to help the team win 14-13 against Falcons TTC on day four of Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at Nehru Indoor Stadium, here today.
At the conclusion of four days of the inaugural UTT, Falcons top the table despite going down this evening, with 28 points followed by Smashers with 26 and Maharashtra United on 15.
After being ahead 8-7 at the end of five matches, Smashers got an unexpected boost and the lead as Sathiyan got the better of Gerell 11-7, 6-11, 11-6. He thus became the third Indian paddler to beat a foreign player in the tournament.
The Chennai right-hander, who has improved significantly in recent times, kept his Swedish rival guessing with a mix of shots. Importantly, he held his nerve to deny the Falcon player to register a memorable victory.
More misery was to follow for the Falcons as Kim Song I outclassed India's Suthirtha Mukherjee 11-3, 11-4, 11-3 to put the Smashers 12-9 in front.
In the following match, Kou Lei came up against young Indian Arjun Ghosh, a replacement for Briton Liam Pitchford and was surprised by the aggressive intent shown by his rival. Ghosh snatched the opening game 11-4 with a series of attacking shots and another upset looked on cards.
However, Lei, an Ukrainian player of Chinese origin, denied Ghosh a big win by hanging on despite coming under attack. Once he won the second game 11-10, he stepped up the pace and ran away with the decider 11-3 to seal the tie for Smashers.
In the final encounter, Wu Yang beat Kim Song I by three games to nil (11-7, 11-6, 11-10) to reduce the margin to 13- 14.
Earlier, despite Freiatas' two victories, Falcons fought back through Wu Yang and the mixed doubles pair of Sanil Shetty and Lee Ho Ching to be on even keel with Smashers at the end of four matches.
Portugal paddler Freitas, ranked 14 in the world, got his team off to a flying start by outplaying young Indian Sanil Shetty 11-5 11-2 11-3.
In the second match, Wu Yang, who was once ranked as high as fourth in the world, underlined her class, with a dominant 11-9 11-4 11-7 win over India's Mousumi Paul to level the scores for Falcons.
Sanil and Lee Ho Ching continued the good work for Falcons by posting a 11-8 11-6 11-6 victoy to put the team 6-3 ahead.
However, Freitas was in his element again as he stormed to a 11-7 11-6 11-8 win against the experienced Gerell.
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.
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