Table Tennis: It will be Shazé Challengers v Falcons TTC in Ceat UTT final

Han Ying won both her matches and Li Ping held his nerves when it mattered most as Shazé Challengers beat Dabang Smashers TTC 14-9 in the second semi-final of the inaugural Ceat Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), the country’s newest franchise sports league, at the NSCI here yesterday evening.
Shazé Challengers will lock horns with Falcons TTC in the final of the tournament this evening.
The team that secures 14 points first is declared winner in the knockouts. Shazé Challengers had edged out Dabang Smashers 15-12 in the League phase.
Portuguese world No 14 Marcos Freitas, a southpaw, put Dabang Smashers ahead with a 2-1 win over attacking 85-ranked Soumyajit Ghosh, who pulled back the third game in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to hand Shazé Challengers one point.
In-form China-born German world No 9 Han Ying made it 4-2 for Shazé Challengers as she brushed aside Madhurika Patkar 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian).
Next up was mixed doubles (Foreign/Indian pair) and the clash saw Soumyajit Ghosh and his partner Petrissa Solja rally to beat A Amalraj and Tetyana Bilenko 2-1 to extend Shazé Challengers’ lead to 6-3.
Croatian Andrej Gacina then edged past China-born Ukraine Kou Lei 2-1 in a closely-fought men’s singles (Foreign player category) clash to further Shazé Challengers lead to 8-4.
The experienced Han Ying followed up it up by winning her second match of the day to strengthen Shazé Challengers’ grip on the tie at 10-5, as she rallied to beat North Korean world No 19 Kim Song I 2-1 in the women’s singles (Foreign player category).
G Sathiyan pulled off a surprise win over China-born Qatar Li Ping 2-1 in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to hand Dabang Smashers their second win of the day. Shazé Challengers, however, continued to lead at 11-7.
Kim Song I (Dabang Smashers) returned to table to thump Mouma Das 2-1 in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian), but the 135-ranked Indian won the close third game to help Shazé Challengers take a step closer to victory at 12-9.
Li Ping closed it for Shazé Challengers 14-9 by winning the first two games against Freitas in the men’s singles (Foreign player category), the eighth and penultimate match.
Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi, Bajaj Group chairman Rahul Bajaj and former Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi were amongst those who attended the occasion.
Results: Dabang Smashers lost to Shaze Challengers 9-14
MS – Marcos Freitas beat Soumyajit Ghosh 2-1 (11-7, 11-6, 9-11)
WS – Madhurika Patkar lost to Han Ying 0-3 (4-11, 6-11, 7-11)
MD – Amalraj Anthony/ Tetyana Bilenko lost to Soumyajit Ghosh/ Petrissa Solja 1-2 (11-8, 7-11, 5-11), 
MS – Kou Lei lost to Andrej Gacina 2-1 (9-11, 11-6, 7-11)
WS  – Kim Song I lost to Han Ying 1-2 (11-6, 9-11, 10-11)
MS – Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beat Li Ping 2-1 (11-9, 5-11, 11-4)
WS – Kim Song I beat Mouma Das 2-1 (11-4, 11-4, 10-11)
MS  – Marcos Freitas lost to Li Ping 0-2 (9-11, 7-11)


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