Han Ying won both her matches and Li Ping held his nerves when it mattered most as Shazé Challengers beat Dabang Smashers TTC 14-9 in the second semifinal of the inaugural CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), the country’s newest franchise sports league, at the NSCI in Mumbai on Saturday.
Shazé Challengers will lock horns with Falcons TTC in the final on Sunday.
The team that secures 14 points first is declared
Portuguese world No 14 Marcos Freitas, a southpaw, put Dabang Smashers ahead with a 2-1 win over attacking 85-ranked Soumyajit Ghosh, who pulled back the third game in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to hand Shazé Challengers one point.
In-form China-born German world No 9 Han Ying made it 4-2 for Shazé Challengers as she brushed aside Madhurika Patkar 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian).
Next up was mixed doubles (Foreign/Indian pair) and the clash saw Soumyajit Ghosh and his partner Petrissa Solja rally to beat
Croatian Andrej Gacina then edged past China-born Ukraine Kou Lei 2-1 in a closely-fought men’s singles (Foreign player category) clash to further Shazé Challengers lead to 8-4.
The experienced Han Ying followed up it up by winning her second match of the day to strengthen Shazé Challengers’ grip on the tie at 10-5, as she rallied to beat North Korean world No 19 Kim Song I 2-1 in the women’s singles (Foreign player category).
G Sathiyan pulled off a surprise win over China-born Qatar's Li Ping 2-1 in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to hand Dabang Smashers their second win of the day. Shazé Challengers, however, continued to lead at 11-7.
Kim Song I (Dabang Smashers) returned to table to thump Mouma Das 2-1 in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian), but the 135-ranked Indian won the close third game to help Shazé Challengers take a step closer to victory at 12-9.
Li Ping closed it for Shazé Challengers 14-9 by winning the first two games against Freitas in the men’s singles (Foreign player category), the eighth and penultimate match.
Earlier in the evening, Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi, Bajaj Group chairman Rahul Bajaj and former Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi graced the occasion of
Final score: Dabang Smashers lost to Shaze Challengers 9-14
MS – Marcos Freitas beat Soumyajit Ghosh 2-1 (11-7, 11-6, 9-11)
WS – Madhurika Patkar lost to Han Ying 0-3 (4-11, 6-11, 7-11)
MD – Amalraj Anthony/ Tetyana Bilenko lost to Soumyajit Ghosh/ Petrissa
MS – Kou Lei lost to Andrej Gacina 2-1 (9-11, 11-6, 7-11)
WS – Kim Song I lost to Han Ying 1-2 (11-6, 9-11, 10-11)
MS – Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beat Li Ping 2-1 (11-9, 5-11, 11-4)
WS – Kim Song I beat Mouma Das 2-1 (11-4, 11-4, 10-11)
MS – Marcos Freitas lost to Li Ping 0-2 (9-11, 7-11)