Challengers destroy the Smashers to enter the maiden final of CEAT UTT in style

It was a sheer massacre in the second semi-final of the CEAT UTT at the NSCI Mumbai Stadium, as the Shaze Challengers defeated the Dabang Smashers. They will now face the Falcons TTC in the finals of this maiden UTT League.

The Smashers started off showing quite some promise as Marcos Freitas, currently ranked no. 14 in the World, beat Soumyajit Ghosh of the Challengers 2-1 in the first match of the night. Aggressive right from the outset, he won the first two games easily by 11-7 and 11-6. Ghosh fought back well in the last game and stole the victory from Freitas with an 11-9 win.

Source: Twitter

The second match, however saw Challengers secure a steady lead by defeating the smashers 3-0. It was the legendary German chopper, Han Ying vs India’s own Madhurika Patkar. Han Ying was instrumental in her victory, never letting Patkar settle or have any sort of lead. She won the first two games 11-4 and 11-6, and in the third game Patkar realized that she would have to play in a more defensive manner, which did result in longer rallies, but in the end, it was Han Ying who held the upper hand. Han Ying is the only player in this league who hasn’t lost a single match yet, and she is a definite force to reckon with.

Owing to her success, the challengers called upon the services of Han Ying once again, when the face off was against North Korea’s Kim Song I, who is known to be an extremely excellent chopper of the ball. What ensued was a really exhilarating match which saw various long rallies sometimes even lasting for up to 42 shots! Kim Song I craftily won her first match 6-11, but Han Ying came back in fine style in the next two games and won 11-10 and 11-9. Kim Song I came really close to defeating Han Ying for the first time in this tournament with her powerful forehand smashes and it was a delight seeing her fearless style of play.

Here is a link to the longest rally of the semi final:

Now that they had a massive 10-5 lead, the Shaze Challengers just had to win four matches to qualify for the finals. The next showdown was between Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Li Ping, in which the in-form Sathiyan defeated Ping 2-1. Sathiyan had worked on his counter attacks and they left Ping absolutely dumbfounded. However, this win didn’t make much of a difference in the overall score, which was now 11-7.

In the last match, Li Ping redeemed himself wonderfully by beating the Smashers captain in a surprise 2-0 victory leading his team to a massive 14-9 win.

Source: Twitter

Behind The Scenes

Celebrities had graced the event with their presence, showing their support for their favourite teams. The semi-finals saw Juhi Chawla and Kapil Dev interacting with the players and other event attendees.

Watch Juhi Chawla and Kapil Dev try out the #CEATTimeout Challenge:

Here’s the winning team with the winning selfie!:

Hugs and Hi 5s all around:

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