It’s Falcons v Maharashtra United & Shazé Challengers v Dabang Smashers in UTT semis

Sharath Kamal Achanta Captain of RP SG Mavericks in actionMumbai: Shazé Challengers rallied to beat RP-SG Mavericks 15-12 in the concluding league tie of the inaugural CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the NSCI in Mumbai on Thursday to qualify for the knockouts of the country’s newest franchise sports league. 

Falcons TTC finished on top of the six-team League table with 78 points, followed by Shazé Challengers (73), Dabang Smashers TTC (69), DHFL Maharashtra United (64), Oilmax Stag Yoddhas (61) and RP-SG Mavericks (60). Falcons TTC will take on DHFL Maharashtra United in the first semifinal on Friday and Shazé Challengers will meet Dabang Smashers TTC in the second semifinal on Saturday. The final will be held on Sunday.

In the knockouts, teams will play only up to such time that one team is winner, having secured 14 points. RP-SG Mavericks opened with a 2-1 win after Indian ace A Sharath Kamal put it past Croatian world No 46 Andrej Gacina (Shazé Challengers) 11-7, 1-11, 11-7 in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian). 

German Sabine Winter made it 4-2 for RP-SG Mavericks by winning the first two games in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian) against Mouma Das but the 135-ranked Bengal lass pulled one back to score Shazé Challengers’ second point. Next up was mixed doubles (Foreign/Indian pair) which RP-SG Mavericks’ pair of Sharath Kamal/ Sofia Polcanova won 2-1 (11-7, 11-5, 9-11) but Li Ping and Mouma Das picked a crucial point for Shazé Challengers by winning the third game, even as RP-SG Mavericks led 6-3. 

Austrian Stefan Fegerl extended RP-SG Mavericks’ lead to 8-4 with a 2-1 (2-11, 11-7, 11-8) win over Gacina in the men’s singles (Foreign player category). Winter won her second outing of the day when she beat fellow German Petrissa Solja 2-1 (11-10, 4-11, 11-6) in the women’s singles (Foreign player category) as RP-SG Mavericks moved to a commanding 10-5 lead. Soumyajit Ghosh then recorded Shazé Challengers’ first win of the day when he rallied to beat Fegerl 2-1 (9-11, 11-10, 11-8) in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to reduce his team’s margin of deficit to 7-11.

China-born German world No 9 Han Ying brushed aside 17-year-old Archana Girish Kamath, ranked 217 in the world, 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-4) to help narrow down Shazé Challengers’ deficit down to one point (10-11). China-born Qatar world No 42 Li Ping beat Portuguese world No 31 Tiago Apolonia 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-10) in the men’s singles (Foreign player category) as Shazé Challengers took the lead for the first time in the tie, at 13-11. Han Ying then won her second match of the day when she beat Austrian Sofia Polcanova in the women’s singles (Foreign player category) 2-1 (11-3, 11-7, 10-11) to seal the tie for Shazé Challengers. 

RP-SG Mavericks lost to Shazé Challengers 12-15 

MS – A Sharath Kamal beat Andrej Gacina 2-1 (11-7, 1-11, 11-7)

WS – Sabine Winter beat Mouma Das  2-1 (11-8, 11-9, 8-11)MD – Sharath Kamal/ Sofia Polcanova beat Li Ping/ Mouma Das  2-1 (11-7, 11-5, 9-11),

MS – Stefan Fegerl beat Andrej Gacina 2-1 (2-11, 11-7, 11-8)

WS  – Petrissa Solja lost to Sabine Winter 1-2 (10-11, 11-4, 11-6)MS – Stefan Fegerl lost to Soumyajit Ghosh 1-2 (11-9, 10-11, 8-11)

WS – Archana Kamath lost to Han Ying 0-3 (5-11, 6-11, 4-11)

MS – Tiago Apolonia lost to Li Ping 0-3 (4-11, 9-11, 10-11)

WS – Sofia Polcanova Han Ying 1-2 (3-11, 8-11, 11-10)