UTT: Harmeet sizzles in Maharashtra United's victory

The Maharashtra side got off to a flyer with world No. 79 Harmeet sweeping past world No. 20 Panagiotis Gionis in a comprehensive 11-6, 11-10, 11-9 triumph, causing arguably the biggest upset of the tournament so far.

Harmeet Desai rook down world No. 20 Panagiotis Gionis 11-6, 11-10, 11-9.   -  M. VEDHAN

India No. 2 Harmeet Desai sizzled in DHFL Maharashtra United's 15-12 victory over Oilmax Stag Yoddhas on day three of the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) here on Saturday.

The Maharashtra side got off to a flyer with world No. 79 Harmeet sweeping past world No. 20 Panagiotis Gionis in a comprehensive 11-6, 11-10, 11-9 triumph, causing arguably the biggest upset of the tournament so far.   

“This was the first time I beat a top 20 player and it definitely is the biggest win of my career,” said an elated Harmeet after the match. 

The results of the evening were largely unpredictable with both sides putting up stellar performances. 

Manika Batra made too many errors in her loss to Austria's Liu Jia, in the second match of the day, giving Maharashtra United a four-point lead. However, Batra made amends when she teamed up with Aruna Quadri to thwart the combination of Joao Monteiro and Pooja Sahasrabudhe in a straight-game victory, earning their side three crucial points and bringing the score to 4-5, at the end of three matches. 

Portugese Joao Monteiro took on Greece's Panagiotis Gionis in an explosive all-overseas player affair, which was one of the turning points of the day. Monteiro took a tightly contested first game 11-10. After a long and animated chat with coach Ferenc Karsai – who seemed to suggest to make Gionis move around – he leaped to a five-point lead and deployed his massive forehand to perfection, taking the second and the third game with ease, to restore his side's lead to 8-4. 

Hong Kong's Doo Hoi Kem completed a 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 drubbing of Krittwika Roy, taking the scoreboard to a competitive 10-11, giving the Yoddhas a plausible chance at victory.
 
In the potential decider between world No. 8 Wong Chun Ting and Nigeria's No. 1, Quadri Aruna, Ting made a dazzling comeback from being 2-7 down, to go on a rampage to snatch the next nine points and win the game 11-7.

Aruna started the second game strongly but Ting, one of the few practitioners of the pen-hold grip, never gave him a chance to settle and took the game 11-10. Aruna stepped up his game and took the third, giving his side a far-fetched shot at victory. 

However, Maharashtra's experienced Fu Yu laid all doubts to rest as she defeated Russian Polina Mikhailova 11-9, 7-11, 11-9 and sealed the tie for her side. 

Day three witnessed a much better crowd turnout and the players seemed to have adapted to the ten-second rule, as none of them were docked points.

Results:

Panagiotis Gionis lost to Harmeet Desai: 6-11, 10-11, 9-11; Manika Batra lost to Liu Jia: 6-11, 11-5, 7-11; Quadri Aruna and Manika Batra beat Joao Monteiro and Pooja Sahasrabudhe: 11-1, 11-4, 11-7; Panagiotis Gionis lost to Joao Monteiro: 10-11, 3-11, 4-11; Doo Hoi Kem vs Liu Jia: 11-5, 11-7 10-11; Jubin Kumar lost to Wong Chun Ting: 7-11, 11-8, 4-11; Doo Hoi Kem beat Krittwika Roy: 11-9, 11-5, 11-8; Quadri Aruna beat Wong Chun Ting: 7-11, 10-11, 11-10; Polina Mikhailova lost to Fu Yu: 9-11, 11-7, 9-11

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