Manika Batra’s heroics in vain as Mavericks beat Smashers in UTTJune 22, 2018, Delhi
Gold Coast Commonwealth Games double gold medallist Manika Batra’s heroics went in vain as RP-SG Mavericks outplayed table toppers Dabang Smasher in CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the Tyagaraj Stadium here on Wednesday. The massive 13-8 victory helped Mavericks end the night on 37 points, just two adrift of leaders Smashers.
Indian table tennis’ poster girl, Manika came back from a game down to edge past World No.60 Sabine Winter of Germany 2-1 (4-11, 11-3, 11-7) in a thrilling encounter to help Smashers race to an early lead. Playing in front of her home crowd, Manika conceded the opening game in a rather meek fashion. But she made a strong comeback and fired in a total of 10 winners in the next two games to seal the match and send the fans into a thunderous applause.
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Skipper Harmeet Desai, however, drew level (3-3) for Mavericks in the next match with a prolific win over World No 27 Yoshida Masaki of Japan 2-1 (11-8, 10-11, 9-11). In the mixed doubles encounter, captain Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sakura Mori recorded a pulsating 10-11, 11-9, 11-2 victory over the pair of Harmeet and Doo Hoi Kem to help Dabang snatch the lead back.
With Smashers leading 5-4 after three matches, Cedric Nuytinck further swelled the scoreline in their favour with a clear 2-1 (7-11,11-3,11-7) win over World No 33 Kou Lei. World No 13 Doo Hoi Kem brought the Mavericks right back into the tie with a dominating 3-0 victory over Sakura Mori.
With the home side trailing 7-8, it was down to Sathiyan to win a few points for his side. But Mattias Karlsson, the World No 18 from Sweden, proved too much for the Indian and underlined his authority, turning in a sterling performance to win 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-8).
It proved to be Sathiyan’s first singles defeat in the UTT. In the last encounter of the night, Mouma Das completed the domination with a convincing 2-1 (10-11, 11-8, 11-9) victory over World No 38 Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico.