Young Indian stars Manush Shah and Archana Kamath rose to the occasion as Puneri Paltan Table Tennis registered a thrilling 8-7 victory over Dabang Delhi TTC in the ongoing Ultimate Table Tennis Season 4 at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge-Balewadi here on Friday night.
The franchise-based league, promoted by Niraj Bajaj and Vita Dani under the auspices of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), has been a game-changer for Indian table tennis since its inception in 2017.
Manush fought bravely against Jon Persson from the beginning of the match and won it by 2-1 to put his franchise in the driving seat. The Vadodara-based young player took the first game through a game point.
In the second game, Persson effectively put his spin serves on the table which caused huge trouble for Manush as he found it difficult to return the shots and score points.
Persson won the second game 11-8 before the Indian made swift movements to gain an advantage over his opponent and won the third game by 11-4 to clinch the match.
On the other hand, Archana also played her top game and won 2-1 against her compatriot Sreeja Akula. The Bengaluru-based paddler was at her very best as she took the opening game 11-4 before losing the second by a close margin of 7-11.
The third game saw a nail-biting contest between both the promising paddlers and in the end, it was the Puneri Paltan Table Tennis player who won it by 11-6 to clinch the tie for her franchise.
Earlier, playing for Dabang Delhi TTC, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran took the first game with his swift movements before losing the match by 1-2 against the former ITTF African-Cup champion Omar Assar in the first match (Men’s Singles) of the tie.
Sathiyan, who had defeated World No. 58 Kirill Gerassimenko, continued his positive touch in the first game against the ace Egyptian paddler. He showcased immaculate precision in returning the strong shots of Omar before going into attacking mode and playing his forehands to take the opening game by 11-6.
The second game also went down to the wire as the Indian player gave his all to put Omar in trouble and made him sweat for every point with the use of forehand and backhand shots to good effect.
However, in the end, Omar held his nerve to reign supreme by 11-8 over the Chennai-based player. He channelled his top game in the third game and did not give any room to Sathiyan before wrapping up the match with an 11-4 scoreline in the decider.
Barbora Balazova of Dabang Delhi TTC beat Puneri Paltan Table Tennis’ Hana Matelova 2-1 to bring her franchise back in the tie. The Slovak paddler found it difficult to match the speed of Hana in the first game as she lost it by a heavy margin of 2-11.
However, she made a strong comeback in the match and won the next two games through golden points.
In the third match (Mixed Doubles) of the tie, Sathiyan and Barbora produced superb coordination to beat Manush Shah and Hana 2-1 and bring the Delhi franchise into the lead for the first time in the tie.
The pair of Sathiyan and Barbora began the match on a positive note, however, lost the first game through a game point. They came back strongly in the second game as Manush and Hana failed to return their ferocious shots. Sathiyan and Barbora won the second game 11-4 before winning the following game by 11-7.
All the Season 4 ties start at 7.30 PM.