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UTT: Manika, Sathiyan sizzle as Dabang rise to top with a win

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185   //    19 Jun 2018, 00:11 IST

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Pune, Jun 18 (PTI) Manika Batra today continued to hog the limelight in the Ulitmate Table Tennis League by scalping another higher-ranked player at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here.

Riding on the winning start provided by the Commonwealth Games double gold medallist, Dabang Smashers T.T.C put it across defending champions Falcons TTC 17-4.

They won six of the seven matches in the tie to emerge leaders of the Pune leg with 31 points in their kitty, a media release said today.

India's top-ranked male player and Dabang captain Gnanasekaran Sathiyan came up with another sterling display by turning in two winning performances.

He first teamed up with Japanese Sakura Mori to win their mixed doubles 3-0 against Sanil Shetty and Bernadette Szocs before extending his unbeaten run in singles since last season by upstaging Spain's Alvaro Robles 3-0 (11-10, 11-6, 11-6).

Once Manika squeezed past World No. 30 Matilda Ekholm 2-1 (8-11, 11-10, 11-10) in a pulsating duel, the Smashers were all over their rivals.

Japanese World No. 27 Yoshida Masaki downed Sanil Shetty 3-0 (11-9, 11-4, 11-4) and their fluent victory in the mixed doubles saw the Season 1 semi-finalists race to a 8-1 lead.

Falcons' captain Liam Pitchford reduced the margin with a hard-fought 2-1 (11-10, 11-9, 6-11) victory over Masaki, who featured in two men's singles matches tonight. It was the only win that Falcons registered in the tie as Smashers' 17-year-old Puerto Rican Adriana Diaz, Sathiyan and Mori won the remaining three singles without much ado.

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