Ultimate Table Tennis 2018: Manav Thakkar stuns World No.18 Karlsson as Challengers win big against Maharashtra United
New Delhi, June 21: Manav Thakkar turned in a sensational display at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex on Thursday by stunning World No. 18 Kristian Karlsson 2-1 and inspired Empowerji Challengers to a 15-6 victory against Maharashtra United in a CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) Powered by Kellogg’s tie. Earlier, even India's legend Achanta Sharath had praised the youngster for what he is achieving.
The 18-year-old Thakkar rattled his Swedish rival, ranked 223 places above him with an attacking display to win 11-9, 8-11, 11-8. He had earlier helped Challengers assert their dominance by clinching the mixed doubles with Hungarian Georgina Pota. They downed Anthony Amalraj/Elizabeta Samara in straight games 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-10) to surge ahead as the scores after the first two matches were tied 3-3.
Tiago Apolonia, Lee Ho Ching, and Pota swelled the tally with impressive victories in their respective singles.
The big win helped Challengers rise to the third spot (30 points) pushing Maharashtra to the fourth spot (26 points).
Maharashtra were hampered by an injury to their top foreign player, World No. 19 Elizabeta, who twisted her ankle in the second game of the mixed doubles. She returned to play after receiving treatment but the injury affected the Romanian’s movement. The 29-year-old lost to Hong Kong’s World No. 20 Lee Ho Ching 0-3.
Lily Zhang’s narrow 2-1 victory over Divya Deshpande (6-11, 11-10, 11-10) was the only success for Maharashtra, who lost six of the seven matches in the tie. The decision to field Karlsson in two singles did not bear fruit as he lost to World No. 40 Apolonia 2-1 (11-9, 8-11, 11-9) and Thakkar.
The Portuguese left the sizeable crowd in raptures by breaking into a Cristiano Ronaldo-like celebration after his win.
Pota completed Challengers’ domination with a 2-1 win (11-7, 11-7, 9-11) against Madhurika Patkar.
How they stand: 1. Dabang Smashers 39 points, 2. RP-SG Mavericks 37 points; 3. Empowerji Challengers 30 points; 4. Maharashtra United 26 points; 5. Warriors TTC 21 points; 6. Falcons TTC 15 points.
Empowerji Challengers bt Maharashtra United 15-6
Women’s singles: Divya Deshpande lost to Lily Zhang (USA) 1-2 (11-6, 10-11, 10-11)
Men’s singles: Simon Gauzy (Fra) bt Anthony Amalraj 2-1 (11-7, 11-9, 10-11)
Mixed doubles: Manav Thaakar/ Georgina Pota bt Anthony Amalraj/ Elizabeta Samara 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-10)
Men’s singles: Tiago Apolonia (Por) bt Kristian Karlsson (Swe) 2-1 (11-9, 8-11, 11-8)
Women’s singles: Lee Ho Ching (HK) bt Elizabeta Samara (Rom) 3-0 (11-3, 11-9, 11-6)
Men’s singles: Manav Thakkar bt Kristian Karlsson 2-1 (11-9, 11-8, 8-11)
Women’s singles: Georgina Pota (Hun) bt Madhurika Patkar 2-1 (11-7, 11-7, 8-11)