Riding on an all-round show, defending champion Falcons TTC pipped RP-SG Mavericks 11-10 in the final league tie of the Ultimate TT, here, at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on Thursday. Mavericks, which had all its previous four rounds, faced the first defeat as Matilda Ekholm blanked Mavericks’ Mouma Das 3-0 in the final match to tilt the balance in favour of the former.
Mavericks got off to a fine start as Sabine Winter blanked Falcons’ Sutirtha Mukherjee 3-0. The 25-year-old German, ranked 60 in the world, downed the Indian national champion 11-10, 11-2, 11-5 without breaking much sweat. Alvaro Robles got the Falcons back in the action winning the next match Mavericks’ captain Harmeet Desai.
The Spaniard, ranked 56 in the world, downed Desai 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 in a closely contested match to narrow the gap against Mavericks, who led 4-2 after the first two rounds. In the next five matches, Falcons won three with the mixed doubles pair of Sanil Shetty and Bernadette Szocs, Liam Pitchford (men’s singles) and Matilda Ekholm (women’s singles) getting favourable results to steer the holder to a commendable win. For Mavericks, Doo Hoi Kem and Kou Lei won a women’s and Men’s singles match each to push the decision to the final match of the day.
The semifinals will feature the league topper Dabang Smashers against the fourth-placed Maharashtra United on Friday, while RP-SG Mavericks will continue the contest against the final league opponent, Falcons TTC, in the second match on Saturday.
The results: Falcons TTC bt RP-SG Mavericks 11-10 (Sutirtha Mukherjee lost to Sabine Winter 10-11, 2-11, 5-11, Alvaro Robles bt Harmeet Desai 11-8, 9-11, 11-8; Sanil Shetty & Bernadette Szocs bt Harmeet Desai & Doo Hoi Kem 11-7, 11-1, 5-11; Liam Pitchford bt Mattias Karlsson 6-11, 11-8, 11-9; Bernadette Szocs lost to Doo Hoi Kem 8-11, 7-11, 11-8; Sanil Shetty lost to Kou Lei 4-11, 6-11, 11-10; Matilda Ekholm bt Mouma Das 11-7, 11-8, 11-7.
Final League standings: Dabang Smashers - 63 points; 2. RP-SG Mavericks - 58; 3. Falcons TTC - 56; 4. Maharashtra United - 49; 5. Warriors TTC - 47; 6. Empowerji Challengers – 42.
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