Pune: India’s top-ranked male paddler Harmeet Desai and Reeth Rishya T produced scintillating performances as Goa Challengers beat U Mumba TT 9-6, ending their unbeaten run in the Ultimate Table Tennis Season 4 at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge-Balewadi here on Wednesday night.
While the Chennai-born paddler Reeth stunned Lily Zhang 2-1 (6-11, 11-6, 11-9), Harmeet defeated Manav Thakkar 2-1 (10-11, 11-7, 11-8) to complete a remarkable victory for the Goa franchise.
The franchise-based league, promoted by Niraj Bajaj and Vita Dani under the auspices of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
Reeth struggled in the first game against Lily but quickly found her feet in the second game as she used her swift movements combined with precise backhands to make an astonishing comeback in the match. The third game saw an exciting contest between both paddlers, however, in the end, Reeth won it to clinch the tie for her side.
Earlier, Harmeet faced a stiff challenge against Manav. The U Mumba TT’s paddler started the match with a bang and bagged the first game through game point. Harmeet made a comeback in the second game and won the following game as well to put his franchise in a comfortable position.
The highest-ranked paddler in Season 4, powered by DafaNews Quadri Aruna of U Mumba TT produced a scintillating show in the first match (Men’s Singles) of the tie and defeated Alvaro Robles 2-1 to earn two valuable team points.
Robles started the tie on a positive note and gathered some quick points before Quadri came back all guns blazing and quickly took a healthy lead. He then won the first game by 11-6 with his ferocious forehands.
The second game went down to the wire and the former World Championships silver medallist took Quadri to the edge. He was quick to return the forehand shots of the Nigerian paddler as the game went to the golden point where Quadri reigned supreme to win the match. Robles was quick to react in the third game as well and this time it went in his favour by 11-8 as the highest-ranked player in Season 4, powered by DafaNews, found it difficult to match the tenacity of the Spanish paddler.
Diya Chitale, who had stunned India’s top-ranked player Bengaluru Smasher’s Manika Batra during their first face-off, fought bravely in the second match of the tie (Women’s Singles) but lost 1-2 against Suthasini Sawettabut as the Goa Challengers’ paddler brought her franchise back into the game.
The Commonwealth medalist was fearless from the first game and played long rallies to push the World No. 39 to the edge. However, the opening game went in the favour of Suthasini by 11-7. In the second game, the Mumbai-based paddler started on a positive note and went into the lead before Suthasini made a comeback with precise returns combined with tenacious forehands to take the game 11-9.
The World No. 107 then brought her A-game to the table to startle Suthasini and pocket a crucial team point by winning the game (11-9) to register her strong presence in the league.
Harmeet and Suthasini defeated Manav Thakkar and Lily Zhang 2-1 to bring Goa into the lead for the first time in the tie by 5-4.
The Goa Challengers’ pair showed superb coordination to take the first game by 11-8 before using their experience to win the second by the same margin. Manav and Lily won the third game by 11-7 to reduce the gap.
All the Season 4 ties start at 7.30 PM.
Goa Challengers 9-6 U Mumba TT
Alvaro Robles 1-2 Quadri Aruna (6-11, 10-11, 11-8)
Suthasini Sawettabut 2-1 Diya Chitale (11-7, 11-9, 9-11)
Harmeet/Suthasini 2-1 Manav/Lily (11-8, 11-8, 7-11)
Harmeet Desai 2-1 Manav Thakkar (10-11, 11-7, 11-8)
Reeth Tennison 2-1 Lily Zhang (6-11, 11-6, 11-9).