India’s Sanil Shetty scored a scintillating victory over World No. 22 Aruna Quadri to inspire Falcons TTC to a big 15-6 victory against Warriors TTC in their CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) Powered by Kellogg’s tie at the Thyagaraj Stadium here on Friday.
Sanil then paired up with Bernadette Szocs to engineer another crucial victory 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-9) over the formidable duo of A Sharath Kamal and Sofia Polcanova. His double wins helped Falcons TTC jump into a comfortable 8-1 lead after the first three matches.
Captain Liam Pitchford too played his part, winning both his singles 2-1 each. Matilda Ekholm and Bernadette also won to extend their domination over Warriors. In the last match, Hana Matelova won 2-1 against Sutirtha Mukherjee for Warriors’ only success of the evening.
The 23-year-old Shetty, ranked 88 places below Aruna Quadri, staged a brilliant fightback in the third game to seal a well-deserved win, the best in his career. With the clash tied 1-1 after the first two games and down 7-10, he attacked fearlessly to take three straight points.
He won the golden point too, using his powerful forehand smash to good effect for a 2-1 win. Sanil began on a bright note by pocketing the first game 11-6 only to find the 2018 Commonwealth Games double silver medallist levelling the scores 1-1.
Nigeria’s Quadri appeared to have put the game beyond the Indian’s reach by taking a decisive lead but Shetty pulled off a coup with his wristy flicks and returns.
Earlier, Matilda provided a fluent start to the defending champions with an easy 3-0 (11-4, 11-3, 11-5) win over Pooja Sahasrabuddhe. The World No. 35 Swede was too strong for the 26-year-old Indian.
Pitchford and Soczs powered Falcons’ march by upstaging higher ranked players. While World No. 49 Pitchford downed World No. 15 Chih Yuan Chuang 2-1 (10-11, 11-5, 11-7), Bernadette, ranked World No. 36, upset World No. 18 Sofia Polcanova (10-11, 11-10, 11-10) in a thriller with all three games being decided by the golden point.
Pitchford also won the battle of captains by defeating World No. 47 Achanta Sharath Kamal 2-1 (11-9, 11-4, 10-11).
How they stand: 1. Dabang Smashers 39 points, 2. RP-SG Mavericks 37 points; 3. Falcons TTC 30 points; 4. Empowerji Challengers 30 points; 5. Warriors TTC 27 points; 6. Maharashtra United 26 points.
Warrriors TTC lost to Falcons TTC 6-15
Women’ singles: Pooja Sahasrabuddhe lost to Matilda Ekholm (Swe) 0-3 (4-11, 3-11, 5-11)
Men’s singles: Aruna Quadri (Nge) lost to Sanil Shetty 1-2 (6-11, 11-5, 10-11)
Mixed doubles: A Sharath Kamal/ Sofia Polcanova lost to Sanil Shetty/ Bernadette Szocs 0-3 (4-11, 7-11, 9-11)
Men’s singles: Chih Yuan Chuang (Tpe) lost to Liam Pitchford (Eng) 1-2 (10-11, 11-5, 7-11)
Women’s singles: Sofia Polcanova (Aut) lost Bernadette Szocs (Rom) 1-2 (11-10, 10-11, 10-11)
Men’s singles: A Sharath Kamal lost to Liam Pitchford (Eng) 1-2 (9-11, 4-11, 11-10)
Women’s singles: Hana Matelova (Cze) beat Sutirtha Mukherjee 10-11, 11-3, 11-9)