Maharashtra United overcame a mid- match stutter to open its campaign in Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) with a 15-12 win against Oilmax-Stag Yodhas at Nehru indoor stadium here today.
Young Indian player Harmeet Desai gave the United team a flying start by putting it across Greek paddler Panagiotis Gionis, ranked 19th in the world, 11-6, 11-10, 11-9. Desai played fine, attacking tennis to leave his opponent stunned.
At the end of five matches, United managed a 9-6 lead in terms of games won as they overcame the demoralising loss in the mixed doubles to keep up the pressure on Yodhas.
In the second match, Manika Batra put up a fight against Liu Ju before losing 1-2 (6-11, 11-5, 7-11) as United opened up a 5-1 lead.
The Yodhas fought back through Nigeria's Quadri Aruna and Manika Batra as they won the mixed doubles match against Joao Monteiro and Pooja Sahasrabudhe 11-1, 11-4, 11-7.
Gionis suffered another reverse as he was walloped 11-10, 11-3, 11-4 by Monteiro as United raced ahead.
However, in the fifth match, Doo Hei Kim secured a 2-1 win (11-5, 11-7, 10-11) against Liu Jia to pull things back for the Yodhas.
India's Jubin Kumar took a game off Wong Chun Ting, the highest ranked men's player in the tournament at eight. Kumar surprised the Hong Kong star to take the second game 11-8 but was outclassed in the decider of the sixth rubber.
Yodhas's top player Kim Doo Hei outplayed India's Kritwikka Sinha Roy 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 to lead a revival.
However, the losses suffered by Quadri Aruna and Polina Mihailova dashed their hopes of securing a come-from-behind win.
Mihailova fought bravely against Fu Yu in the final rubber but went down 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, letting her rival off the hook with mistakes at crucial junctures.
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.