Manika Batra’s heroics went in vain as RP-SG Mavericks outplayed table toppers Dabang Smasher T.T.C in CEAT UTT Powered by Kellog’s played at the Tyagaraj Stadium on Wednesday.
The massive 13-8 victory helped Mavericks end the night on 37 points, just two adrift of leaders Smashers. Indian table tennis’ poster girl, Batra came back from a game down to edge past World No.60 Sabine Winter of Germany 2-1 (4-11, 11-3, 11-7) in a thrilling encounter to help Smashers race to an early lead.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games doubles gold medalist playing in front of her home crowd conceded the opening game in a rather meek fashion. But she made a strong comeback and fired in a total of 10 winners in the next two games to seal the match and send the fans into a thunderous applause.
Skipper Harmeet Desai, however, drew level (3-3) for Mavericks in the next match with a prolific win over World No.27 Yoshida Masaki of Japan 2-1 (11-8, 10-11, 9-11).
In the mixed doubles encounter, captain Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sakura Mori recorded a pulsating 10-11, 11-9, 11-2 victory over the pair of Harmeet and Doo Hoi Kem to help Dabang snatch the lead back.
With Smashers leading 5-4 after three matches, Cedric Nuytinck further swelled the scoreline in their favour with a clear 2-1 (7-11,11-3,11-7) win over World No.33 Kou Lei.
World No. 13 Doo Hoi Kem brought the Mavericks right back into the tie with a dominating 3-0 victory over Sakura Mori. With the home side trailing 7-8, it was down to Sathiyan to win a few points for his side. But Mattias Karlsson, the World No.18 from Sweden, proved too much for the Indian and underlined his authority, turning in a sterling performance to win 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-8). It proved to be Sathiyan’s first singles defeat in the CEAT UTT.
In the last encounter of the night, Mouma Das completed the domination with a convincing 2-1 (10-11, 11-8, 11-9) victory over World No.38 Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico.
Dabang Smashers TTC lost to RP-SG Mavericks – 8-13
Women’s singles – Manika Batra bt Sabine Winter – 4-11, 11-3, 11-7
Men’s singles – Yoshida Masaki lost to Harmeet Desai – 11-8, 10-11,9-11
Mixed doubles – Sathiyan Gnanasekaran/ Sakura Mori bt Harmeet Desai/Doo Hoi Kem 10-11,11-9,11-2
Men’s singles – Cedric Nuytinck bt Kou Lei – 11-7,3-11,11-7
Women’s singles – Sakura Mori lost to Doo Hoi Kem – 7-11, 5-11, 7-11
Men’s singles – Sathiyan Gnanasekaran lost to Mattias Karlsson – 7-11, 8-11, 8-11
Women’s singles – Adriana Diaz lost to Mouma Das – 11-10, 8-11, 9-11