Manika Batra inspires Smashers to maiden UTT title

Smashers outperformed 2017 winner Falcons TTC by a convincing 11-7 margin to pick up the crown in style.

Manika Batra. (File Photo)   -  Vivek Bendre

Manika Batra’s stellar act inspired Dabang Smashers to its maiden title in the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis here at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on Sunday. Smashers defeated defending champion Falcons TTC by a convincing 11-7 margin to take the crown. Manika gave Smashers the winning start before G. Sathiyan provided the finish by winning the mixed doubles and the men’s singles.

Dominating show

Manika blanked World No. 30 Matilda Ekholm 3-0 in the opening women’s singles. Ranked 80 in the world, she cruised to her fifth win of the tournament dominating her Swedish opponent with a fine combination of control and attack.

Manika had an impressive tally of five wins and two loses in the tournament.

Yoshida Masaki downed Sanil Shetty 2-1 in the men’s singles to extended Smashers’ lead to 5-1 after two matches. The team earning the first 11 points in the seven-match tie (21 points in total) wins the title.

Smashers pushed the lead to 7-2 as its mixed doubles pair of Sathiyan and Sakura Mori downed Falcons’ Sanil Shetty and Bernadette Szocs 2-1.

Falcons made a brief comeback as Liam Pitchford and Szocs won the men’s and women’s singles, the fourth and fifth matches in the order.

Sathiyan, the highest placed Indian with a World ranking of 44, returned next to down Spain’s Alvaro Robles 2-1 and ensured Smashers the title.

The winner bagged ₹1 crore while the runner-up got ₹75 lakh.

Results

Final: Dabang Smashers TTC bt Falcons TTC 11-7 (Manika Batra bt Matilda Ekholm 11-8, 11-10, 11-9, Yoshida Masaki bt Sanil Shetty 11-8, 11-8, 10-11; G. Sathiyan & Sakura Mori bt Sanil Shetty& Bernadette Szocs 11-6, 11-7, 3-11; Cedric Nuytinck lost to Liam Pitchford 8-11, 11-5, 7-11; Adriana Diaz lost to Bernadette Szocs 5-11, 9-11, 11-6; G Sathiyan bt Alvaro Robles 11-6, 9-11, 11-8; Sakura Mori v Sutirtha Mukherjee (did not play)

Individual honours: 

Standout Indian player: Manika Batra (Smashers)

Most valuable player (female): Elizabeta Samara (Maharashtra United)

Most valuable player (male): Liam Pitchford (Falcons)

Super server: Matilda Ekholm (Falcons)

Ultimate1: Yoshida Masaki (Smashers)