Manika in­spires Smash­ers to maiden UTT ti­tle

Sportstar - - INDIAN PLAYGROUND -

Manika Ba­tra’s stel­lar act in­spired Da­bang Smash­ers to its maiden ti­tle in the CEAT Ul­ti­mate Ta­ble Ten­nis at the Ne­taji In­door Sta­dium in Kolkata. Smash­ers de­feated de­fend­ing cham­pion Fal­cons TTC by a con­vinc­ing 11­7 mar­gin to take the crown. Manika gave Smash­ers the win­ning start be­fore G. Sathiyan pro­vided the fin­ish by win­ning the mixed dou­bles and the men’s sin­gles.

Manika, who blanked world No. 30 Matilda Ekholm 3­0 in the open­ing women’s sin­gles, had an im­pres­sive tally of five wins and two loses in the tour­na­ment.

Yoshida Masaki downed Sanil Shetty 2­1 in the men’s sin­gles to ex­tend Smash­ers’ lead to 5­1 af­ter two matches. Smash­ers pushed the lead to 7­2 as its mixed dou­bles pair of Sathiyan and Sakura Mori downed Fal­cons’ Sanil Shetty and Ber­nadette Szocs 2­1.

Fal­cons made a brief come­back as Liam Pitch­ford and Szocs won the men’s and women’s sin­gles, the fourth and fifth matches in the or­der. Sathiyan, the high­est placed In­dian with a world rank­ing of 44, re­turned next to down Spain’s Al­varo Robles 2­1 and en­sured Smash­ers the ti­tle.

The win­ner bagged ₹1 crore while the run­ner­up got ₹75 lakh.

AMITABHA DAS SHARMA

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