New Delhi: India's Sanil Shetty scored a scintillating victory over World No. 22 Aruna Quadri to inspire Falcons TTC to a 15-6 victory over Warriors TTC in the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT).
Sanil then paired up with Bernadette Szocs to engineer another crucial victory 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-9) over the formidable duo of A Sharath Kamal and Sofia Polcanova. His double wins helped Falcons TTC jump into a comfortable 8-1 lead after the first three matches.
Captain Liam Pitchford too played his part, winning both his singles 2-1 each. Matilda Ekholm and Bernadette also won to extend their domination over Warriors. In the last match, Hana Matelova won 2-1 against Sutirtha Mukherjee for Warriors' only success of the evening.
The 23-year-old Shetty, ranked 88 places below Aruna Quadri, staged a brilliant fightback in the third game to seal a well-deserved win. With the clash tied 1-1 after the first two games and down 7-10, he attacked fearlessly to take three straight points.
He won the golden point too, using his powerful forehand smash to good effect for a 2-1 win. Sanil began on a bright note by pocketing the first game 11-6 only to find the 2018 Commonwealth Games double silver medallist levelling the scores 1-1.
Nigeria's Quadri appeared to have put the game beyond the Indian's reach by taking a decisive lead but Shetty pulled off a coup with his wristy flicks and returns.
Earlier, Matilda provided a fluent start to the defending champions with an easy 3-0 (11-4, 11-3, 11-5) win over Pooja Sahasrabuddhe. The World No. 35 Swede was too strong for the 26-year-old Indian.
Pitchford and Soczs powered Falcons' march by upstaging higher ranked players. While World No. 49 Pitchford downed World No. 15 Chih Yuan Chuang 2-1 (10-11, 11-5, 11-7), Bernadette, ranked World No. 36, upset World No. 18 Sofia Polcanova (10-11, 11-10, 11-10) in a thriller with all three games being decided by the golden point.
Pitchford also won the battle of captains by defeating World No. 47 Achanta Sharath Kamal 2-1 (11-9, 11-4, 10-11).
How they stand: 1. Dabang Smashers 39 points, 2. RP-SG Mavericks 37 points; 3. Falcons TTC 30 points; 4. Empowerji Challengers 30 points; 5. Warriors TTC 27 points; 6. Maharashtra United 26 points.
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Updated Date: Jun 22, 2018 23:43:31 IST