Flying smashes to nail biting rallies: A look at top moments of CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis League
Along with the football world cup, a different tournament kicked off on the 14th of June – the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis league. Now in its second season, this tournament calls upon some of India’s and the world’s finest players to battle it out in three select stadiums across India. The clashes started off with defending champions Falcons Table Tennis Club squaring off with newly formed team Maharashtra United in the Balewadi Stadium of Pune. An extremely close finish for that resulted in a 11-10 win for the Falcons TTC paved the way for what has been quite the nail biting tournament so far. Every team brought their A-game, but now that the group stages are over, only four teams out of the original six remain.
Here’s a look at the league table:
— Ultimate TableTennis (@UltTableTennis) June 28, 2018
It is bound to be an exciting weekend as top teams Dabang Smashers square off with Maharashtra United while the Falcons TTC clash with RP SG Mavericks.
Let’s take this moment to review some of the top moments of CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis League.
Dabang Smashers dash ahead
— Manika Batra (@manikabatra_TT) June 29, 2018
Sitting comfortably at the top of the table, the Smashers, coached by Table Tennis stars Sachin Shetty and Andrei Filimon have absolutely dominated this tournament. Out of the 105 games that their players have played in this season, they’ve won an impressive 63, the highest for any team. Moreover, they’ve handed a humiliating defeat to last year’s champions Falcons TTC, having demolished their line-up with a score of 17-4. They have a great mix of senior players like Manika Batra, who enjoyed a very successful Commonwealth Games recently and Sakura Mori from Japan, who is currently world no. 28, along with promising junior players like Archana Kamath and Sanish Ambekar.
If they continue their stellar performance in the knockout stages too, they are sure the clinch the title this time around.
The do or die match between Maharashtra United and Warriors TTC
— Ultimate TableTennis (@UltTableTennis) June 27, 2018
One of the last matches of the group stage, this was a must win for both teams if they wanted to qualify as the fourth member of the knockout stage. The stage was set for an epic clash as both teams had some extremely experienced players. The evening kicked off with the match of Warrior’s Pooja Koparkar and United’s Elizabeta Samara, which Elizabeta won 3-0 with splitting ease. But if this was a sign that United were going to win this battle, the next match suggested the opposite result. Fought between Chih-Yuan Chuang and Amalraj Anthony, this match saw the Warrior Chuang win each match by a massive margin and go on the seal the set at 3-0. Things were now looking to be even, and they continued to be so for most of the night.
At this stage, however, any minor slips could result in loss, and when veteran Indian player Sharath Kamal let his guard down and lost all three of his matches to Swede Kristian Karlsson, the Warriors were in serious trouble.
— Warriors T.T.C. (@warriorsttc) June 27, 2018
Even a 3-0 win against United’s Madhurika Patkar couldn’t pave a path for victory for them, as they lost out by the slightest of margins, one match. The final score was 11-10 in Maharashtra United’s favour, and they will now play the Dabang Smashers in semi final 1.
There have been some mind boggling table tennis skills at display so far in the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis League, and we can only hope to see more gripping rallies, devastating smashes and innovative responses as the stakes get even higher at the knockout stage.