Pune: India's highest-ranked men's player G Sathiyan and Commonwealth Games double gold medallist Manika Batra piloted Dabang Smashers to an emphatic win over Warriors in the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) on Saturday.
Smashers picked up 14 points while conceding only 7 in their 6-1 verdict to jump to the top of the six-team table.
Manika began the charge against Achanta Sharath Kamal's Warriors, scoring a tense 2-1 victory in the opening game by shocking World No 18 Sofia Polcanova, who is ranked 62 spots higher than her, claiming two out of the three games on "golden point".
Manika mixed her serves cleverly and used her backhand effectively to score a 11-10, 5-11, 11-10 victory.
The other crowd favourite, Sharath Kamal, began confidently, winning the first game 11-10, before Japan's Yoshida Masaki (World No 27) recovered strongly in the next to score a facile 11-5 win.
The Indian star battled hard in the decider but a handful of unforced errors saw him lose 8-11.
Sathiyan, teaming up with Japanese Sakura Mori, rode on the winning momentum to give the Smashers a clean 3-0 victory in the mixed doubles.
But he put his best foot forward in the next singles, shocking World No 15 Chin-Yuan Chuang of Chinese Taipei 2-1 (11-7, 11-6, 7-11).
The highest ranked Indian (World No 44) upstaged his rival with stunning returns to maintain his unbeaten record in the tournament since season 1.
In between, Warriors were spurred by Polcanova, who put behind her defeat to Manika, with a 3-0 victory over Mori in her second singles match.
The 17-year-old Adriana Diaz, the youngest player in the tournament from Puerto Rico, completed the Smashers dominance with an emphatic 3-0 win over Pooja Sahasrabuddhe.
On Sunday, Maharashtra United take on RPSG Mavericks.
Updated Date: Jun 16, 2018 22:57 PM