UTT: Sathiyan, Madhurika help Smashers stun United

If G. Sathiyan set the pace, the rookie mixed doubles combination of A. Amalraj and Tetyana Bilenko won for the first time, National champion Madhurika Patkar stunned World No. 37 Fu Yu and World No. 14, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas took the team over the finish-line in the penultimate match.

Dabang Smashers’ G. Sathiyan exults after winning against Wong Chun Ting of Maharashtra United in the Ultimate Table Tennis League at Thyagaraj Stadium, in New Delhi on Saturday.   -  Sandeep Saxena

With amazing consistency, underdog Dabang Smashers pulled off surprise after surprise to stun Maharashtra United 16-11 in a thrilling league encounter of the Ultimate Table Tennis here on Saturday evening.

The victory took Smashers to the second spot on the six-team points table with 55 points, behind leader Falcons (61). United held the fourth spot with 42 points.

In the nine-match tie, Smashers won eight encounters by identical 2-1 margins. This was made possible by some unexpected contributions coming against fancied opposition.

If G. Sathiyan set the pace, the rookie mixed doubles combination of A. Amalraj and Tetyana Bilenko won for the first time, National champion Madhurika Patkar stunned World No. 37 Fu Yu and World No. 14, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas took the team over the finish-line in the penultimate match.

Sathiyan provided a flying start when he brought down World No. 8 Wong Chun Ting – the highest ranked male player in the competition. Aggressive from the start, the 110-ranked Indian made his famed rival move by hitting on both flanks with amazing consistency.

Ting, who had lost earlier in the league to Sharath Kamal, went on to lose to Kou Lei to the huge disappointment of the United camp.

Madhurika became the first Indian woman in the league to win a match. In fact, the 190th-ranked Indian was not expected to match the skills of 37th-ranked Fu Yu but as the drama unfolded, it was Madhurika who played the big points better and eventually won the third-game ‘golden point’.

Smashers’ Marcos Freitas, ranked 14th, just about managed to live up to pre-match billing and finished the job expected of him. He managed to win 2-1 against a fighting Harmeet Desai by winning ‘golden point’ in the final game.

He returned for the penultimate match of the evening against his practice-partner Joao Monteiro, made light of the first-game loss to win the next two and ensure Smashers’ triumph. In the final match, King Song I just about managed to beat United's Liu Jia to fill Smashers’ cup of joy.

The results:
  • Dabang Smashers beat Maharashtra United 16-11 (G. Sathiyan bt Wong Chun Ting 11-3, 11-9, 7-11; King Song I bt Pooja Sahasrabudhe 11-2, 11-5, 9-11; A. Amalraj and Tetyana Bilenko bt Harmeet Desai and Liu Jia 11-8, 11-4, 4-11; Kou Lei bt Wong Chun Ting 11-10, 11-9, 5-11; Tetyana Bilenko lost to Fu Yu 8-11, 10-11, 6-11; Marcos Freitas bt Harmeet Desai 11-6, 8-11, 11-10; Madhurika Patkar bt Fu Yu 11-9, 7-11, 11-10; Marcos Freitas bt Joao Monteiro 8-11, 11-10, 11-8; Kim Song I bt Liu Jia 11-6, 9-11, 11-10).

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