UTT: Smashing outing for Batra, Sathiyan

Smashers cruises to a comfortable win over Warriors.

Thanks to Manika Batra and G. Sathiyan's stupendous wins against fancied opponents, Dabang Smashers cruised to a comfortable 14-7 win over Warriors.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Golden girl Manika Batra and giant-killer G. Sathiyan showcased their readiness to take over the mantle of Indian table tennis from veteran A. Sharath Kamal as the trio enthralled a packed Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex auditorium on the third night of the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis.

Thanks to Batra and Sathiyan's stupendous wins against fancied opponents, Dabang Smashers cruised to a comfortable 14-7 win over Warriors. Making her first competitive appearance in India after her Commonwealth Games double gold, Batra stunned World No. 18 Sofia Polcanova to set the tone for Smashers.

After struggling to find her rhythm, Batra changed tactics effectively to force the left-handed Austrian into mistakes. And when it mattered most, she raised her game to win the golden point in the opening and the deciding games.

Sharath tried his best to get the Warriors back into the contest by pocketing the opening game against Japan's Yoshida Masaki. But the World No. 27 was too consistent to handle for Sharath over the remaining two games. Once Sharath and Hana Matelova conceded all the three games to Sathiyan and Sakura Mori in the mixed doubles, the result was all but sealed.

Sathiyan then upset Chin-Yuan Chuang of Chinese Taipei in the penultimate rubber. The Chennai boy not only matched the World No. 15 rally for rally, but also won most of the long rallies to register one of the most memorable victories of his career and see his team through.