Young Archana Kamath produced a scintillating exhibition of speed and power to annihilate Manika Batra and set the pace for Goa Challengers’ emphatic 11-4 triumph over RP-SG Mavericks, Kolkata, in the Ultimate Table Tennis league on Saturday.
Goa dominated every individual encounter as Anthony Amalraj won both his matches, with the conquest of World No. 53 Benedikt Duda being the icing on the cake.
The finishing touches were provided by World No. 8 Cheng I-Ching who stopped World No. 25 Matilda Ekholm in three games.
If Mavericks was straightaway put on the defensive, Archana’s unrelenting attacks on Manika had everything to do with it.
This clash between the country’s top-ranked player and the National champion lived up to the billing. Fast exchanges, interspersed with long rallies brought out the best in Archana and she stayed in control.
Archana enjoyed lead of 7-4, 10-4 in the first two games before racing away with the final seven points in the third to leave Manika stranded.
After Spaniard Alvaro Robles, ranked 56th, overcame a slow start to tame Sanil Shetty 2-1, Amalraj and Ching got the measure of Duda and Manika.
Again, it was the inconsistency of Manika’s returns made the decisive difference.
Amalraj went on to cause the other big upset. Ranked a distant 122, Amalraj was quick to respond to any challenge thrown at him by Duda and captured the first game.
In the second, Duda was lucky to win the ‘golden point’ when Amalraj’s forehand drive went out. This miss resulted in Amalraj producing his best in dominating the decider.
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