Challengers downs Mavericks 15-12, qualifies for semis

Shaze Challengers, seven points short of confirming a spot in the final four, had to wait till the sixth game to tilt the scales in its favour.

Soumyajit Ghosh turned saviour for the Challengers, smashing past Stefan Fegerl 9-11, 11-10, 11-8 in the singles.    -  : R.V. Moorthy

It was the Shaze Challengers which had the last laugh, as it trumped Mavericks 15-12 to qualify for the semi-finals of the Ceat Ultimate Table Tennis League.

Sharath Kamal though, got RP-SG Mavericks off to a blazing start in an action-packed men’s singles win 11-7, 1-11, 11-7 over Challengers' Andrej Gacina.

India’s best known table tennis pro, Sharath, wrapped up the first game quickly, but went off the boil in the second game as Gacina retrieved away from the table and piled up points steadily to win 11-1.

In the deciding game, the Indian paddler fell behind at 1-5 before the towel break allowed him to regain his focus and from thereon, there was no looking back. He also won the mixed doubles partnering Sofia Polcanova.

The turning point
However the Challengers, seven points short of confirming a spot in the final four, had to wait till the sixth game to tilt the scales in its favour.

Soumyajit Ghosh turned saviour, smashing past Stefan Fegerl 9-11, 11-10, 11-8 in the singles.  Hang Ying rode on the momentum created by teammate Ghosh to outclass Archana Kamath in the women’s singles.

Challengers’ tactic of fielding quality players in the latter stages paid off, resulting in a  15-12 victory after having lost the first five ties at the NSCI indoor stadium.
 

Mavericks won the first five matches (four singles and mixed doubles) by 2-1 margins. Challengers, boosted by five points despite a string of losses, celebrated victory in the sixth game - Ghosh in sparking form against the taller Fegerl - who was equally determined to bring his retrieving into play to grab the first game, before the stocky Indian roared back in the next two hard-fought games, laced with long rallies and stunning anticipation away from the table.

Semi-final lineup: Falcons TTc vs Maharashtra Unted; Shaze Challengers vs Dabang Smashers.

Scores: Shaze Challengers bt RP-SG Mavericks 15-12

MS: Andrez Garcia lost to Sharath Kamal 1-2 (7-11, 11-1, 7-11).

WS: Mouma Das lost to Sabine Winter 1-2 (11-9, 8-11, 8-11).

XD: Li Peng & Mouma Das lost to Sharath Kamal & Sofia Polcanova 1-2 (7-11, 5-11, 11-9).

MS: Andrez Garcia lost to Stefan Fegerl 1-2 (11-2, 7-11, 8-11).

WS: Petrissa Solija lost to Sabine Winter 1-2 (10-11, 11-4, 6-11).

MS: Soumyajit Ghosh bt Stefan Fegerl 2-1 (9-11, 11-10, 11-8).

WS: Han Ying bt Archana Kamath 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-9).

MS: Li Ping bt Tiago Apolonia 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-10).

WS: Han Ying bt Sofia Policanova 2-1 (11-3, 11-7, 10-11).

 

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