Defending champions Falcons TTC beat RP-SG Mavericks in the last league match of CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis Powered by Kellogg’s here on Thursday to set up an explosive repeat clash in the semifinals.
In the other semifinal, table toppers Dabang Smashers, led by Manika Batra and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, take on fourth-placed Maharashtra United on Friday.
Falcons TTC, who needed just 3 points to jump ahead of Warriors TTC in the points table, achieved the feat in the third clash of the day itself. India’s Sanil Shetty paired up with Bernadette Szocs to overcome Harmeet Desai and Doo Hoi Kem 2-1 (11-7, 11-1, 5-11) in the mixed doubles encounter.
Germany’s Sabine Winter began the day’s proceedings on a winning note for the Mavericks, taming India’s national champion Sutirtha Mukherjee 3-0 (11-10, 11-2, 11-5).
Spain’s Alvaro Robles, however, notched up the two points required for the Falcons to equal the Warriors overall tally and make the rest of the matches only of academic interest.
The World No. 56 won 2-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-8) to confirm the fixture for the second semifinal, to be played on Saturday.
England’s Liam Pitchford (World No. 49) maintained his unbeaten run in the second edition of the UTT, fighting back from a set down to upset Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson (World No. 20) 2-1.
Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, however, regained the initiative for Mavericks, outhitting Bernadette Szocs in the first two sets. Szocs pulled one back in the third one to keep the fight for supremacy going
Kou Lei of Ukraine overcame a fired up Sanil Shetty 2-1 to ensure that the Mavericks take the second spot on the table.
Mouma Das lost the last clash to Matilda Ekholm 0-3, to hand over the psychological edge to the Falcons going into the finals.
Falcons TTC bt RP-SG Mavericks 11-10
Women’s singles: Sutirtha Mukherjee lost to Sabine Winter (Ger) 0-3 (10-11, 2-11, 5-11)
Men’s singles: Alvaro Robles (Esp) bt. Harmeet Desai 2-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-8)
Mixed doubles: Sanil Shetty/ Bernadette Szocs bt. Harmeet Desai/ Doo Hoi Kem 2-1 (11-7, 11-1, 5-11)
Men’s singles: Liam Pitchford (Eng) bt. Mattias Karlsson (Swe) 2-1 (6-11, 11-8, 11-9)
Women’s singles: Bernadette Szocs (Rom) lost to Doo Hoi Kem (HK) 1-2 (8-11, 7-11, 11-8)
Men’s singles: Sanil Shetty lost to Kou Lei (Ukr) 1-2 (4-11, 6-11, 11-10)
Women’s singles: Matilda Ekholm (Swe) bt. Mouma Das 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-7).
The semi-final line-up
June 29 (Friday): Dabang Smashers v Maharashtra United
June 30 (Saturday): RP-SG Mavericks v Falcons TTC
July 1 (Sunday): Final
How they finished: 1. Dabang Smashers 63 points; 2. RP-SG Mavericks 58 points; 3. Falcons TTC 56 points; 4. Maharashtra United 49 points; 5. Warriors TTC 47 points; 6. Empowerji Challengers 42 points