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Matilda, Sanil set up RP-SG Mavericks' win in UTT


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Sweden's World No. 25 Matilda Ekholm and India's Sanil Shetty put up a fine display of attacking table tennis to register a comfortable 10-5 victory for RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata in the UTT here on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old Matilda began her team's charge with an emphatic 3-0 win in the opening Women's Singles encounter against Puneri Paltan.
Sanil closed it for them, pouncing on the opportunity to put pressure on his Indian counterpart, Harmeet Desai and forcing him into mistakes. He surprised him with a 2-1 win to clinch the tie for RP-SG.
In between, Sanil and Matilda joined hands to eke out a crucial 2-1 victory in the Mixed Doubles to put RP-SG in the driver's seat.
Earlier, Matilda Ekholm set the tone for the day, getting the better of Germany's Sabine Winter 3-0. It began as an even contest but Matilda slowly asserted herself, even winning a spectacular rally that lasted 30 shots.
After taking the first set 11-9, she raced away in the remaining two (11-5, 11-6) to give RP-SG an early 3-point lead.
German recruit Benedikt Duda (No. 53), then ripped out an upset, overcoming Chuang Chih-Yuan (No. 28) rather comfortably. He won the first two sets on 6 and 4 before yielding the third at 8-11.
The Mixed Doubles was a close affair, with Sanil and Matilda locked in an intense battle with Harmeet and Sabine for supremacy.
Sabine defended smartly to help Puneri take the first set. But then, Sanil-Matlida came into their own, attacking with gusto. The match was evenly poised till 7-7 before RP-SG pulled away for a 11-8 victory.
The final set too was dominated by Sanil-Matlida, at one point putting them 9-4 ahead. Harmeet-Sabine fought back to 9-10 but couldn't finish it off.
In the reverse men's singles, Harmeet stormed away to a 6-2 lead only to see Sanil Shetty claw his back in. Sanil dragged the set to 8-10 but that's where it stopped.
The second set was tantalisingly close, with neither player conceding ground. They went neck and neck all the way till 10-10 till Sanil gobbled up the golden point.
The same story unfolded in the final set too, though Sanil was well poised at 10-8. Harmeet saved two match points but eventually lost on another golden point.
India's star player Manika Batra tamed Ayhika Mukherjee 2-1 in the final fixture.

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First Published: Jul 30 2019 | 10:01 PM IST

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