In a clash involving small margins, G. Sathiyan proved his worth by putting Dabang Delhi beyond U Mumba in the Ultimate Table Tennis league here on Monday.
Walking to the arena with the tie-score locked at 3-3, Sathiyan lived up to the reputation of being the World No. 24. He played his part in the crucial mixed doubles with Bernadette Szocs and then blanked Manav Thakkar 3-0 to give Delhi the winning lead, at 8-4.
In the last singles, Sutirtha Mukherjee defeated a tentative Krittwika Sinha Roy 2-1 to reduce the margin of defeat for Mumbai.
The 9-6 result signalled defending champion Delhi’s maiden victory and Mumba’s first loss this season. The fact that seven games were decided on ‘golden point’ reflects how closely contested the match was.
Sathiyan was in his elements in the doubles, especially in the opening game. Once Manav Thakkar and Doo Hoi Kem bounced back to level the score, Sathiyan assumed control in the deciding game.
Against Thakkar, Sathiyan was tested to the hilt but kept his cool to win the golden points in the first two games. With the pressure somewhat off in the third, Sathiyan came out firing and the difference between the two difficult to miss.
“I think Manav played really well today. I had to keep my cool during those crucial golden points. My 3-0 margin against Manav and my team winning five out of seven ‘golden points’ clinched it,” said Sathiyan, the Delhi skipper.
Before Sathiyan held centre-stage, Mumba took the lead with World No. 12 Doo Hoi Kem winning 2-1 against 19th ranked Bernadette. Delhi restored parity with the 72nd ranked Jon Persson with a surprise 2-1 win over Kirill Gerassimenko.
Persson - like Doo Hoi Kem and Sathiyan - grabbed the ‘golden point’ twice. He bounced back from 0-4 in the first game and 7-10 in the second. A luckless Gerassimenko, clearly the better player on the day, deservedly won the third game.
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