In the second semi-final of Ultimate Table Tennis, Shazé Challengers go head-to-head against Dabang Smashers TTC at the NSCI Stadium in Mumbai, on Saturday.
Shaze Challengers' Han Ying is yet to lose a match in the tournament and she will stand between Dabang Smashers T.T.C. and the finals. UTT
The Challengers have been exceptional throughout the League Phase, overcoming oppositions with minimum fuss to finish second in the table suffering just a single loss on the way. Dabang Smashers, on the other hand, have undergone moments of brilliance and mediocrity in equal measure.
The Challengers are heading into the semi-finals on the back of an excellent 15-12 win over RP-SG Mavericks. They were trailing 7-11 at one point, but Han Ying pulled them back into contention with a thumping 3-0 win over Archana Kamath, before the German came back again and beat Sofia Polcanova to seal the Tie in favour of her team.
The German paddler has won all the ten Matches that she has featured in so far, and her defensive chops has been her weapon of choice in overcoming the opponents. Ying has won 84% of points using those chops, and no doubt her stupendous form could be a big headache for the Smashers going forward.
In addition to Ying’s individual brilliance, Li Ping and Soumyajit Ghosh have also been pivotal to the team’s success in the League Stage. The duo will be hoping to carry their good form against Dabang Smashers.
Challengers captain Andrej Gacina has to pull up his socks in today’s encounter after losing both his Matches against the Mavericks.
Shazé Challengers defeated Dabang Smashers in the League Stage and would reflect on their previous performances to take some positives ahead of the semi-final.
Meanwhile, Dabang Smashers’ march to the semi-final was mainly due to the individual brilliance from their players. Sathiyan Gnanasekearan’s aggressive table tennis has proved to be a nightmare for the opposition players, as the Chennai lad has won all his four Matches, including a 2-1 win against tournament’s highest seed Wong Chun Ting.
The Indian will be keen to replicate those impressive performances in tonight’s semi-final.
Adding to it, Kim Song I not only delivered consistently for the Smashers but also bailed the team out, whenever they have been in trouble. The Korean posed all sorts of problems to Han Ying when both the paddlers met each other before, but failed to get the better off the German. There is no doubt that Kim Song I will be looking to seek revenge and her battle with Ying will be the one to watch out for in tonight’s Tie.
With both teams evenly matched, the Mumbai crowd will be in for a treat on Saturday.
Updated Date: Jul 30, 2017 15:12:46 IST