Manika inspires Smashers to maiden UTT title
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