Veteran Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal produced a scintillating performance to overcome the country's top-ranked men's singles player Harmeet Desai as Chennai Lions beat Goa Challengers 11-4 in the ongoing IndianOil Ultimate Table Tennis Season 4 at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge-Balewadi in Pune on Saturday.
It was an end-to-end battle between both the Indian paddlers from the start of the match as the crowd was treated to some top-class table tennis action. The first game went in the favour of Sharath Kamal by 11-9 who countered Harmeet's aggression with calm precision.
The 13-time Commonwealth Games medallist carried forward the momentum as he took the second game by 11-9 to secure the eighth winning point for his franchise. Sharath won the third game by 11-8.
In the final match of the tie, Yangzi Liu beat T Reeth Rishya 2-1 to complete a stunning victory for the defending champions.
The franchise-based league, promoted by Niraj Bajaj and Vita Dani under the auspices of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), has been a game-changer for Indian table tennis since its inception in 2017.
Earlier, Benedikt Duda of Chennai Lions played a thriller against Alvaro Robles and won by 2-1 in the first match of the tie. The Wolrd No. 33 began the game on a positive note and played some powerful forehands to take the first game by 11-5 before the Goa Challengers paddler made a comeback with his precise shots and won it by 11-8 to turn the match into an exciting contest.
The third game was a close one which went in the favour of Duda by 11-7.
In the second match of the tie, World No. 39 Suthasini Sawettabut of Goa Challenger defeated Sutirtha Mukherjee 2-1.
The Indian paddler, who lost her last two matches in the league, was on top of her game at the start and took some early points to put Suthasini in trouble. Sutirtha was quick to react to the ferocious forehands of the Thai paddler to win the first game by 11-8.
The second game also saw a tough battle between both players as they threw some precise backhands to get into the lead. In the end, the game went in the favour of Suthasini through a game point.
Sutirtha came to the table with a positive mentality in the third game as she took an early 4-1 lead before the Goa Challengers paddler came roaring back and took a 5-4 lead with the use of powerful forehand shots. She then won the game by 11-6 to clinch the victory in the match.
Sharath Kamal and Yangzi Liu beat Harmeet and Suthasini by 3-0 in the third match of the tie.
The pair of Sharath and Yangzi began the match with immaculate coordination as they took the first game 11-6 before winning the next one by the same scoreline. The third game went in the favour of the Chennai Lions paddlers through a golden point.
All the Season 4, powered by DafaNews, ties start at 7.30 PM with broadcast on Sports 18 and streamed on JioCinema. The tickets are available on BookMyShow.
Chennai Lions 11-4 Goa Challengers
Benedikt Duda 2-1 (11-5, 8-11, 11-7) Alvaro Robles
Sutirtha Mukherjee 1-2 (11-8, 10-11, 6-11)Suthasini Sawettabut
Sharath Kamal/Yangzi Liu 3-0 (11-6, 11-6, 11-10) Harmeet Desai/Suthasini
Sharath 3-0 (11-9, 11-9, 11-8) Harmeet
Yangzi 2-1 (11-4, 11-10, 8-11) T Reeth Rishya
Ultimate Table Tennis Media Release