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Table Tennis: Wu Yang and Liam Pitchford lead Falcons TTC into final

Wu Yang and Liam Pitchford won both their matches to help Falcons TTC beat DHFL Maharashtra United 14-5 in the first semi-final of the inaugural Ceat Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), the country’s newest franchise sports league, at the NSCI in Mumbai last night.
 
The team that secures 14 points first is declared winner in the knockouts. Falcons had won the League meeting between the two teams by 17-10. 
 
Shazé Challengers will meet Dabang Smashers TTC in the second semi-final on Saturday, with the final to be played on Sunday.
 
Hong Kong world No 8 Wong Chun Ting put Maharashtra United ahead with a 2-1 win over southpaw Sanil Shetty, ranked 201 in the world, in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian), the opening match of the tie.
 
However, Chinese world No 13 Wu Yang brushed aside 279-ranked Pooja Sahasrabudhe Koparkar (Maharashtra United) 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian) for Falcons TTC to move 4-2 ahead on points.
 
Up next was mixed doubles (Foreign/Indian pair) and DHFL Maharashtra United’s pair of Harmeet Desai  and the experienced Fu Yu edged out Sanil Shetty and his partner  Lee Ho Ching 2-1 to reduce their margin of deficit to 4-5.
 
Briton Pitchford pulled off an upset win over Wong Chun Ting 2-1 in the men’s singles (Foreign player category) to extend Falcons’ lead to 7-5.
 
Chinese ace Wu won her second outing of the day as she put it past China-born Austrian world No 22 Liu Jia 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign player category) to take Falcons a step closer to victory, at 10-5.
 
Pitchford then won his second match of the day, beating Harmeet Desai 3-0 in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to move Falcons to 13-5, one point way from victory.
 
Sutirtha Mukherjee won the opening game against Liu Jia in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian) 11-10 to seal the tie for Falcons TTC.
 
Earlier in the evening, Mrs Nita Mukesh Ambani, Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation and India’s only woman member in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) graced the semi-final.
 
Apart from watching the matches in the 1st Semi-Final, Mrs. Ambani also interacted with some of the Indian paddlers. She met with India's Olympian Sharath Kamal, four-time Paralympic Gold Medalist Natalia Partyka, Olympian Kim Song I and India's young sensation Archana Kamath. 
 
Results:
Falcons TTC lead DHFL Maharashtra United 14-5
 
MS – Sanil Shetty lost to Wong Chun Ting 1-2 (8-11, 11-5, 3-11)
WS – Wu Yang beat Pooja Sahasrabudhe Koparkar 3-0 (11-2, 11-4, 11-2)
MD – Sanil Shetty/ Lee Ho Ching lost to Harmeet Desai/ Fu Yu 1-2 (6-11, 11-5, 5-11), 
MS – Liam Pitchford beat Wong Chun Ting 2-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-4)
WS – Wu Yang beat bt Liu Jia 3-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-6)
MS - Liam Pitchford beat Harmeet Desai 3-0 (11-6, 11-10, 11-7)
WS - Sutirtha Mukherjee beat Liu Jia 1-0 (11-10)
 
NNN
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