by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Predict the victory margin and the chances are you will be wrong; it is the unpredictable nature of the initiative which has witnessed 1,500 spectators on each of three evenings to date in New Delhi, that has enthralled.
It is far more exciting than the Football World Cup! Is it the best chance of beating China?
Simply consider the tie on Friday 22nd June, the duel that concluded the third series of matches, the Warriors included Chuang Chih-Yuan, Quadri Aruna and Sharath Kamal Achanta in their ranks, all players in the top 100 of the Men’s World Rankings; yet they suffered a 15-6 defeat at hands of Falcons, who fielded just name of a similar ilk, Liam Pitchford.
Man of the moment was Sanil Shetty, he recovered from a 7-10 deficit in the third game to secure the golden point and a two games to one victory against Quadri Aruna (11-6, 5-11, 11-10), before joining forces with Bernadette Szocs to secure the Mixed Doubles contest in opposition to Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sofia Polcanova (11-4, 11-7, 11-9). He provided the support needed for Liam Pitchford who accounted Chuang Chih-Yuan (11-10, 5-11, 11-7) and later Sharath Kamal Achanta (11-9, 11-4, 10-11).
Thrilling contests in the Warriors versus Falcons duel but in terms of narrow margins nothing matched the duel between Bernadette Szocs and Sofia Polcanova. Bernadette Szocs beat Sofia Polcanova by two games to one with every game decided on the “golden point” rule (10-11, 11-10, 11-10).
Meanwhile, earlier in the week, RP-SG Mavericks had recorded an 11-8 win in opposition to Dabang Smashers with Doo Hoi Kem and Mattias Karlsson, the players fastest from the gun. Crucially Doo Hoi Kem beat Sakura Mori three-nil as did Mattias Karlsson when facing the in-form Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
Notable performances but if one player stood out as matters moved to New Delhi, it was Manav Thakkar on the second evening of play, on duty for Empowerji Challengers against Maharashtra United. He underlined the fact that if you start at top speed you can cause a major upset.
Listed at no.243 on the current Men’s World Rankings, he won the first two games against Kristian Karlsson, named at no.18 as he threw caution to the wind and played at a whole new level; eventually in the third game he ran out of steam but the strokes he played, especially the backhand top spin, were breath-taking.
A total of nine ties completed, a further three await before the bandwagon moves to Kolkata; a place in the top four and thus a semi-final berth is the goal.
Latest Positions: 1. Dabang Smashers 39pts 2. RP-SG Mavericks 37pts 3. Empowerji Challengers & Falcons TTC 30pts 5. Warriors TTC 27pts 6. Maharashtra United 26pts
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Latest News
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Thursday 14th June – Falcons TTC v Maharashtra United
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Friday 15th June – RP-SG Mavericks v Empowerji Challengers
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Saturday 16th June – Dabang Smashers TTC v Warriors TTC
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Sunday 17th June – RP-SG Mavericks v Maharashtra United
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Monday 18th June – Dabang Smashers TTC v Falcons TTC
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Tuesday 19th June – Warriors TTC v Empowerji Challengers
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Wednesday 20th June – Dabang Smashers v RP-SG Mavericks
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Thursday 21st June – Empowerji Challengers v Maharashtra United
CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis: Friday 22nd June – Warriors TTC v Falcons TTC