UTT: Challengers beats Smashers to reach final

Qatari international Li Ping dashed the hopes of Dabang Smashers, taking two points off Marcos Freitas to guide Shaze Challengers to a 14-9 win and a place in the final here on Saturday.

Han Yingh of Shaze Challengers in action against Dabang Smashers TTC in the 2nd semi final of Ultimate Table Tennis league.   -  THE HINDU - Vivek Bendre

Qatari international Li Ping dashed the hopes of Dabang Smashers, taking two points off Marcos Freitas to guide Shaze Challengers to a 14-9 win and a place in the final here on Saturday.

Smashers’ G Sathiyan continued to enhance his international stature with a thrilling 2-1 win over Qatari international Li Ping earlier in the evening. The wiry Indian, showcasing a refreshing flair for attacking play and courage to back himself, won valuable points for Smashers in the Ultimate Table Tennis league semifinals.

Smashers got off to a winning start in the men’s singles, Marcos Freitas managing a hard-earned 2-1 verdict over Soumyjit Ghosh. The Portuguese dictated play in the first game but fought harder for points in the second as his younger Indian rival got cracking with heavy smashes, before superior serving and control close to the table helped the former add the second game to his kitty.

Soumyjit did not allow relative inexperience against the triple Olympian to affect him in the third game. He ended up winning a hard-fought game which delighted teammates and the fans alike.

Marcos’ teammate in women’s singles, 190-ranked Madhurika Patkar, faced a tough opponent in world number nine Han Ying. This China-born German national, using a shakehand grip and at ease preying on the Indian’s patience by chopping low returns, won the first game easily. Han faced little resistance in the second game as well.

The Indian adapted herself admirably in the third game, ready to engage Han in long rallies and remained neck-and-neck till the seven point mark before going down fighting 7-11. Both received applause at the fascinating show put on, as one point witnessed a 30-shot rally.

Soumyajit won two points for the Challengers by winning the mixed doubles, partnering Petrissa Solja. Andrej Garcina swelled the lead to 8-4 by pocketing the second men’s singles.

Kim Songi from North Korea won an Olympic medal at Rio 2016, but could only stretch Han, allowing the latter to remain unbeaten after two singles ties and increasing the lead to 10-5, four matches away from close.

Challengers will take on Falcons TTC in the final in Mumbai on Sunday.

Scores

Shaze Challengers bt Dabang Smashers 14-9

Soumayjit Ghosh bt Marcos Freitas 1-2 (7-11, 6-11, 11-9); Han Ying bt Madhurika Patkar 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-7); Soumyajit Ghosh & Petrossa Solja bt Anthony Amalraj & Tetyana Bilenko 2-1 (8-11, 11-7, 11-5); Andrej Garcina bt Kou Lei 2-1 (11-9, 4-11, 11-7); Han Ying bt Kim Song I 2-1 (6-11, 11-9, 11-10); Li Ping lost to G Sathiyan 1-2 (9-11, 11-5, 4-11-4); Mouma Das lost to Kim Song I 1-2 (4-11, 4-11, 11-10); Li Ping bt Marcos Freitas 2-0 (11-7, 11-7).