Commonwealth Games gold medallists Manika Batra and G Sathiyan stamped their class, to guide team Dabang Smashers to the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis title with a 11-7 win over Falcons TTC in the final.
Dabang Smashers win – As it happened…
Manika Batra and G Sathiyan’s power-packed performances helped the Dabang Smashers topple defending champions Falcons TTC. By doing so, they pocketed a whopping Rs 1 crore prize money in front of a full house in Kolkata.
Riding on a brilliant start that saw the Smashers jump to a solid 7-2 lead after just three matches, captain Sathiyan recorded a thumping 2-1 victory over Alvaro Robles to bring the contest to a premature end.
Sathiyan won the first set handsomely and led 5-0 in the second. But Spain’s Robles pulled back to draw level and make it 1-1. World No. 44 Sathiyan, however, had the last laugh, winning the third and the crucial 11th game point to seal the victory for the Smashers.
Earlier, 23-year-old Manika led the charge, downing World No. 30 Matilda Ekholm 3-0 (11-8, 11-10, 11-9). The 2018 Commonwealth Games double-gold medallist dominated her Swedish opponent, claiming points with a series of blistering smashes.
By doing so, Manika Batra picked up the Indian player of the league award for her outstanding performance through the season. She won 5 matches and lost 2.
World No. 27 Yoshida Masaki extended Smashers lead with a 2-1 victory over Sanil Shetty. Masaki exhibited great technique and control to claim the first two sets 11-8, 11-8. But Shetty went back for broke and claimed the last set to corner one vital point.
Sathiyan and Sakura Mori promptly paired up to pick 2 more game points, getting the better of Sanil Shetty and Bernadette Szocs in the mixed doubles clash.-- Advertisement --
Falcons’ captain and last year’s MVP Liam Pitchford brought his side back to life, beating Belgium’s Cedric Nuytinck 2-1 in an exhilarating contest. He, however, yielded a vital point, losing the second set 5-11 which proved critical in the end.
Romania’s Szocs, who has quietly been winning matches for Falcons, then overcame young Adriana Diaz to narrow the lead. But the 17-year-old Puerto Rican also pulled one point in the third set to prepare the stage for Sathiyan.
UTT Season 2 Roll of honour:
Standout Indian player: Manika Batra (Smashers)
Most valuable player (female): Elizabeta Samara (Maharashtra United)
CEAT Most valuable player (male): Liam Pitchford (Falcons)
Super server: Matilda Ekholm (Falcons)
Ultimate 1: Yoshida Masaki (Smashers)
Finals Match Results
Dabang Smashers TTC bt Falcons TTC 11-7
Women’s singles: Manika Batra bt Matilda Ekholm (Swe) 3-0 (11-8, 11-10, 11-9)
Men’s singles: Yoshida Masaki (Jpn) bt Sanil Shetty 2-1 (11-8, 11-8, 10-11)
Mixed doubles: G Sathiyan/ Sakura Mori (Jpn) bt Sanil Shetty/ Bernadette Szocs (Rom) 2-1 (11-6, 11-7, 3-11)
Men’s singles: Cedric Nuytinck (Bel) lost Liam Pitchford (Eng) 1-2 (8-11, 11-5, 7-11)
Women’s singles: Adriana Diaz (Pue) lost to Bernadette Szocs 1-2 (5-11, 9-11, 11-6)
Men’s singles: G Sathiyan bt Alvaro Robles (Esp) 2-1 (11-6, 9-11, 11-8)
Women’s singles: Sakura Mori v Sutirtha Mukherjee (did not play)
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