On a night that saw the golden point rule the roost, the Karlssons from Sweden — Mattias and Kristian — stole the limelight as RP-SG Mavericks edged out Maharashtra United in a nail-biting CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis contest on Sunday.
In the first of the four ties that were decided in the last of the 21 games at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex, Sabine Winter kept her nerve to pip Madhurika Patkar 3-0 and take the Mavericks to a 11-10 win against the home team.
So high was the quality of table tennis and so little to differentiate the sides, it left the full house spellbound. Nine of the 21 games, including the final game of the tie, were decided through golden point, a UTT innovation. Winter trailed Madhurika 8-10 in the tie-deciding third game but backed her aggressive instincts to win three points in a row.
The UTT format doesn’t allow two Indians to face each other in a singles match. As both sides had a top-ranked Swede in their camp, the teams decided to pit them against each other. The Karlssons, friends off the field, enthralled the audience with some breathtaking table tennis.
United, trailing 6-3, was looking forward to World No. 18 Kristian to put it back on track. The southpaw didn’t disappoint, his forehand top-spin helping him dominate the first two games. However, the lanky Mattias fought back to win the third, with some powerful forehand kills.
United’s Elizabeta Samara then earned three vital points against Doo Hoi Kem before veteran Joao Monteiro turned the tables on Harmeet Desai to put United on the brink of a win as it led 10-8 going into the final match. But, Winter turned the tide in Mavericks’ favour.
The results: RP-SG Mavericks bt Maharashtra United 11-10 (Ayhika Mukherjee bt Lily Zhang 10-11, 11-5, 11-10; Kou Lei bt Anthony Amalraj 10-11, 11-10, 11-5; Harmeet Desai & Doo Hoi Kem bt Anthony Amalraj & Elizabeta Samara 11-5, 11-6, 5-11; Mattias Karlsson lost to Kristian Karlsson 9-11, 6-11, 11-10; Doo Hoi Kem lost to Elizabeta Samara 5-11, 10-11, 8-11; Harmeet Desai lost to Joao Monteiro 11-10, 9-11, 10-11; Sabine Winter bt Madhurika Patkar 11-7, 11-9, 11-10).
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