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U Mumba proves too strong for Goa Challengers

Creating a ripple: Sutirtha Mukherjee upstaged Cheng I-Ching, the World No. 9.

Creating a ripple: Sutirtha Mukherjee upstaged Cheng I-Ching, the World No. 9.  

In-form Thakkar, Doo Ho Kem come good again; Sutirtha stuns World No. 9 Cheng.

Contrary to expectations of a close battle, U Mumba left fellow title-contenders Goa Challengers embarrassed.

Much before the tie stood decided at 11-4, Goa opened up lead of 9-1 that proved the biggest seen in the third season of the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) league here on Monday.

Thakkar excels

Manav Thakkar was the best Indian on view as he upstaged A. Amalraj 2-1. Joined by Doo Hoi Kem, who handed out a 3-0 lesson to teenager Archana Kamath, Thakkar played his part to perfection in the mixed doubles, too. The duo raced away to a 3-0 win over Alvaro Robles and Archana to give the side a winning 8-1 lead with two matches to spare.

U Mumba completed its five-match league engagements with an aggregate of 44 points. It is followed by Dabang Delhi (33 from four matches), Goa Challengers (30 from four) and RP-SG Mavericks (26 from four), Chennai Lions (24 from three) and Puneri Paltan (23 from four).

If Goa managed to marginally bridge the gap it was because World No. 86 Robles bounce back to beat the highly-talented Kirill Gerassimenko, ranked 45, 2-1.

However, Goa’s best bet, World No. 9 Chinese Taipie girl Cheng I-Ching, was yet to recover fully from indisposition and committed too many mistakes to hand out a morale-boosting 2-1 victory to a free-hitting Sutirtha Mukherjee.

Robles, the reigning men’s doubles World championship silver medallist with Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, was keen to make amends for the 3-0 mauling he and teenager Archana received in the mixed doubles tie.

Thrilling battle

After dropping the opening game to World No. 45 Kirill Gerassimenko on ‘golden point’ after leading 10-8, Robles raised his intensity further and what followed was the most thrilling battle of the evening.

Robles eventually came out stronger in the last two games, winning some long rallies, some ranging from 13 to 19 shots, on the way.

Before Robles gave Goa its only win, it was U Mumba all the way.

The results: U Mumba bt Goa Challengers 11-4 (Doo Hoi Kem bt Archana Kamath 11-8, 11-10, 11-8; Manav Thakkar bt A. Amalraj 11-7, 5-11, 11-9; Thakkar & Doo bt Alvaro Robles & Archana 11-7, 11-10, 11-8; Kirill Gerassimenko lost to Robles 11-10, 7-11, 7-11; Sutirtha bt Cheng I-Ching 11-6, 11-9, 6-11).

Tuesday’s fixture: Chennai Lions v RP-SG Mavericks, Kolkata (7 p.m).

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 9:50:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/u-mumba-proves-too-strong-for-goa-challengers/article28827177.ece

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