Other Sports

Challengers power past Paltan, enter semifinal

In the thick of it: Amalraj was in his element, winning both matches.

In the thick of it: Amalraj was in his element, winning both matches.   | Photo Credit: VAQAAS MANSURI

Amalraj the star for the Goa side; Archana stuns Winter

Goa Challengers got its campaign back on track, knocking out last-placed Puneri Paltan 11-4 and sealing a semifinal berth in the Ultimate Table Tennis league here on Wednesday.

Paltan needed to win by at least a seven-point margin to catch up with Goa at 34 points and advance on the basis of the head-to-head result of this encounter. But Goa, determined to make amends for its shock 11-4 loss to U Mumba, proved too hot to handle.

It was Archana Kamath who stunned Sabine Winter 2-1 to provide the finishing touches.

Desai drubbed

The hero of Goa’s big win was A. Amalraj who handed out a 3-0 drubbing to the recently-crowned Commonwealth champion Harmeet Desai and gave his team the winning lead.

After World No. 9 Cheng I-Ching expectedly blanked the 122nd-ranked Ayhika Mukherjee, the reigning Commonwealth champion, 3-0 to give Goa a flying start, Alvaro Robles’ 2-1 loss to the fancied Chaung Ching-Yuan kept Paltan alive.

What followed was the ‘Amalraj show’. Along with Cheng, Amalraj consolidated Goa’s lead by beating another India-Chinese Taipei pair of Ayhika Mukherjee and Chuang Chih-Yuan 2-1. But the former National champion was not done yet.

Amalraj, easily the quickest player on the Indian circuit, produced several close-to-the-table whipped returns on both flanks to keep the crowd enthralled. Even after winning the first two games comfortably, he did not offer Desai a consolation game, bouncing back from 8-10 to win the ‘golden point’.

In the final singles, Archana played way above her World ranking of 139 to upstage the 58th-ranked Sabine 2-1. Indeed, with Goa assured of a big win, the young Indian played without pressure while it was difficult for Sabine to keep herself motivated.

The results: Goa Challengers bt Puneri Paltan 11-4 (Cheng I-Ching bt Ayhika Mukherjee 11-8, 11-1, 11-5; Alvaro Robles lost to Chuang Chih-Yuan 9-11. 11-10, 5-11; A. Amalraj & I-Ching bt Chih-Yuan & Ayhika 11-7, 9-11, 11-7; Amalraj bt Harmeet Desai 11-7, 11-7, 11-10; Archana Kamath bt Sabine Winter 8-11, 11-6, 11-9).

Thursday’s fixture: Chennai Lions v Dabang Delhi (7 p.m.).

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 4, 2020 10:06:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/challengers-power-past-paltan-enter-semifinal/article28872600.ece

Next Story