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UTT championship: Giant killer Ayhika steers Mavericks to a narrow win over Maharashtra United

The 21-year-old Ayhika, who had upset world number 20, Lee Ho Ching, of Hong Kong in Mavericks’ victory over Empowerji Challengers, shocked world number 56 Lily Zhang with a 2-1 victory (10-11, 11-5, 11-10)

pune Updated: Jun 17, 2018 23:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan times, Pune
UTT championship,Giant,killer
Ayhika Mukherjee (left) of RP-SG in action during the first tie of day four of Ultimate Table Tennis tournament at Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi on Sunday.(HT PHOTO)

Ayhika Mukherjee’s has continued to impress by winning another David versus Goliath contest, as RP-SG Mavericks narrowly edged past Maharashtra United with a narrow 11-10 margin in their CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) championship at the Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi on Sunday.

After Ayhika’s impressive victory, Kou Lei and the mixed pair of captain Harmeet Desai and Doo Hoi Kem won the first three matches to give Mavericks a commanding 6-3 lead. However, Maharashtra staged a brilliant comeback through their foreign players to turn the tables and gain a 10-8 lead.

Kristian Karlsson, Elizabeta Samara and captain Joao Monteiro won their respective singles to ensure three victories in succession for Maharashtra. Romanian Samara’s shocking 3-0 (11-5, 11-10, 11-8) victory over world number 13, Doo Hoi Kem, was a pivotal point of the encounter.

However, German Sabine Winter brought the game back for the Mavericks by winning the last match of the day against Madhurika Patkar 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-10).

There were nine golden points deciding the winners in nine games, leading to a nail biting contest between the two evenly matched teams. Incidentally, the last point of the tie was decided by a golden point as well.

The 21-year-old Ayhika, who had upset world number 20, Lee Ho Ching, of Hong Kong in Mavericks’ victory over Empowerji Challengers, shocked world number 56 Lily Zhang with a 2-1 victory (10-11, 11-5, 11-10). After losing the first game on a golden point, the Indian, ranked 124 in the world, served up her best game to clinch the second game with ease. However, in the third, Zhang fought back only to find the Indian seal the match with a golden point.

Ukrainian Kou Lie deated Anthony Amalraj’s 2-1 to seal Mavericks’ second win of the day.

World number 18, Kristian Karlsson, began the turnaround for Maharashtra by defeating fellow Swede Kristian Karlsson (world rank 20) 2-1 (11-9, 11-6, 10-11) while world number 19, Samara, stepped up to upset Doo. In a tussle between the captains, Mavericks’ Desai was edged out by Monteiro with the final tally reading 1-2 in Monteiro’s favour (11-10, 9-11, 10-11).

First Published: Jun 17, 2018 22:47 IST