Ultimate Table Tennis: Falcons thrashes Yoddhas 22-5

Falcons TTC never looked back after the opening winner from Sanil Shetty as it clinched the tie in the fifth match to move to the top of the table.

Sanil Shetty was the star for Falcons on Wednesday.   -  R. Ragu

India’s Sanil Shetty led the charge in Falcons TTC’s 22-5 demolition of OilMax-Stag Yoddhas. Falcons never looked back after the opening winner from Sanil as it clinched the tie in the fifth match to move to the top of the table here on Wednesday.

Sanil beat Nigeria’s World No. 29 Aruna Quadri 11-6, 11-10, 11-9 in the first match of the tie to add to his giant-killing scalp. He previously beat World No. 31 Tiago Apolonia on the opening night of the UTT.

The World No. 201 looked to take the game to Quadri from the offset, which forced the Nigerian on the defensive. From 5-5, Sanil launched a flurry of forehands to take home the first game 11-6.

There was no let up for Quadri in the second game, as Sanil was on the front-foot to take a 5-1 lead. Quadri clawed back to 5-5 with the help of a few forehand errors from the Indian paddler. Sanil once again seized the initiative with his swift forehand shots to take the second game 11-10, by claiming the golden point. Falcons made a statement of intent when Sanil helped Falcons take a 3-0 lead with an 11-9 score-line in the third game.

The 28-year-old pointed out that he worked on his footwork, forehand and body postures under India coach Massimo Costantini to bring about his improved game. “I worked with Massimo to reduce the swing of my forehand shots. My forehands have become much quicker now. I was upset after my loss (0-4) to Arjun Ghosh in the National Championships. Massimo encouraged me to get back up again and Peter Engel has helped improve my backhand,” said Sanil.

Clinical

In the women’s singles match, Honk Kong’s Lee Ho Ching put on a clinical display of her attacking prowess against the defensive Polina Mikhailova. Ching sealed the tie in Falcon’s favour, winning 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 to take a 14-1 lead in only the fifth match of the evening. With the tie in the bag, Yoddha’s Abhishek Yadav couldn’t arrest the gap in deficit as he was punished by Par Gerell 6-11, 6-11, 7-11 in a one-sided tie.

Mikhailova salvaged some pride on the night for Yoddhas when she beat Sutirtha Mukherjee 11-10, 11-9, 11-7 in a closely contested match.

Foreign imports Liam Pitchford and Wu Yang won the last two matches of the night against Quadri and Doo Hoi Kem to hand Falcons a comprehensive 22-5 scoreline on the night.

RESULTS

Falcons TTC beats Oil-Stag Yoddhas 22-5 (Sanil Shetty bt. Aruna Quadri 11-6, 11-10, 11-9; Wu Yang bt. Manika Batra 11-5, 11-10, 11-8; Sanil Shetty & Lee Ho Ching bt . Abhishek Yadav & Doo Hoi Kem 11-5, 11-7, 11-8; Par Gerell bt. Tomislav Pucar 9-11, 11-3, 11-9; Lee Ho Ching bt, Polina Mikhailova a 11-3, 11-6, 11-4; Par Gerell bt, Abhishek Yadav 11-6, 11-6, 11-7; Sutirtha Mukherjee lost to Sutirtha Mukherjee 10-11, 9-11, 7-11; Liam Pitchford bt. Aruna Quadri 11-9, 7-11, 11-9; Wu Yang bt. Doo Hoi Kem 11-8, 11-4, 11-2.