The inaugural edition of Ultimate Table Tennis-the TT League of India-is a hit. Falcons TTC won the title by defeating Shazé Challengers 14-9 at the NSCI stadium in Mumbai.
India’s young sensation, Sanil Shetty faced Li Ping in the opening match of the final tie in front of a packed stadium. Ping, the retired Chinese player who plays for Qatar now, held his composure and bagged the first two games 11-9 and 11-10. But Shetty staged a great comeback with a couple of exceptional forehand winners in the final game and won it 11-7 to give the first point to the Falcons.
In the second match, Falcons’ Wu Yang swept aside former national champion Mouma Das 3-0 to give Falcons a 4-2 lead. Das was leading 5-2 in the opening game but could not sustain her initial momentum as she lost the game 6-11 to Yang. The Chinese paddler won the next two games easily by 11-2 and 11-3.
In the next match of the tie, Sanil Shetty and Lee Ho Ching routed the in-form duo of Soumyajit Ghosh and Petrissa Solja 3-0.
In the fourth match, Croatian Andrej Gacina of Shaze Challengers defeated in-form Liam Pitchford of Britain 2-1.
Then came the match for which everyone was waiting for. It was the clash of the titans as Falcons’ Wu Yang faced Han Ying of Shazé Challengers. Wu Yang handed Han Ying her first defeat in the tournament, as the Chinese paddler earned the first point after an astonishing 57 shot rally. After winning the first Game, Wu Yang’s confidence seemed high and there were no real alarms, as she grabbed the second Game 11-4. The former Chinese player who plays for Germany now, Ying was leading in the third Game but Yang hit some stunning winners to claw back from 4-7 to 7-7, before sealing the Game 11-8 to strengthen the Falcons’ grip on the Tie at 11-4.
Liam Pitchford came back to face Soumyajit Ghosh in the sixth match. Ghosh came up with some incredible forehand shots and won the opening game comprehensively 11-5. But he couldn’t replicate his performance in the next two, as Pitchford roared back and took the tight second game 11-10, followed by the third at 11-7, to put Falcons TTC on the verge of clinching the title.
In the seventh match, Han Ying secured a thumping 3-0 win over Sutirtha Mukherjee. The Indian paddler showed tenacity and won some spectacular rallies, but Ying was in total command and eventually won the match, 11-4, 11-8 and 11-7.
Par Gerell faced Li Ping in the eighth match of the tie. After losing the first Game, Gerell sealed the tie 14-9 in favour of his team by winning the second game 11-9.