The Ultimate Table Tennis may have returned after almost four years but Chennai Lions literally continued from where it had left in 2019.
The defending champion opened the fourth season in style by rolling over Puneri Paltan TT 10-5 in the inaugural fixture of the fourth edition.
Riding on veteran A. Sharath Kamal and star female paddler Yangzi Liu, the Lions pocketed four of the five matches in the opening tie at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Thursday night.
Sharath started the night by overcoming unorthodox Egyptians Omar Assar’s resistance. The Indian ace trailed 8-10 but won both his points on serve to force a golden point - a unique UTT feature that’s employed at 10-10.
Once Sharath earned the golden point to win the game, the Lions never looked back. Despite Sharath and Yangzi dropping a game against Omar and Archana Kamath each, the duo maintained a clean slate in the mixed doubles tie.
Archana did match Yangzi for speed but the Australian passed the Indian at crucial junctures both in singles and doubles. As a result, the Lions opened a hefty 7-2 lead before the second round of singles ties had begun.
Benedikt Duda and Manush Shah were then involved in an entertaining all-southpaw clash but the German regular prevailed over the promising Indian 2-1 to seal the tie in the Lions’ favour.
Hana Matelova then gave the Paltan a consolation win by overcoming Sutirtha Mukherjee in the last fixture of the night.
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