Par Gerell and Wu Yang scored big to lead Falcon TTC to a 15-12 victory on points over RP-SG Mavericks in the inaugural tie of the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), the country’s newest franchise sports league, which kicked off at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Thursday.
In the clash of captains, Par Gerell drew first blood for Falcons TTC as he beat RP-SG’s Sharath Kamal 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 in the opening encounter to put his team up 2-1 on points.
Kamal, the face of Indian table tennis for well over a decade, was outpaced in the opening game but came back strongly to take the next as a full-house crowd rooted for the local star. Kamal took a 5-3 lead in the decider but faltered as Gerell clawed back and took control.
According to the UTT points system, in each game, whichever individual/pair scores 11 points first shall be the winner and the team shall receive one Team Point. Each tie will have 9 matches and each match will have 3 games so each tie will have 27 games.
The winner of a tie shall be decided by total games i.e. total points won, meaning a team that wins 14 or more games of the 27 games shall be the winner of that tie.
In League ties, teams shall play all 27 games even if one team has secured the winning 14 points. In Playoff ties, teams will play only up to such time that one team is the winner, having secured 14 points.
RP-SG Maverick’s Sabine Winter clean swept Sutirtha Mukherjee 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-6) while Falcons TTC won the mixed doubles match 2-1 as Lee Ho Ching (Hong Kong) and Sanil Shetty put it past Sofia Polcanova and Kamal 11-8, 8-11, 11-5.
Austrian Stefan Fegerl helped RP-SG Mavericks register another 2-1 win (11-6, 11-9, 9-11) over Englishman Liam Pitchford to help his side lead at the end of four matches.
However, Wu Yang thumped Winter 3-0 (11-9. 11-6, 11-5) to turn the tie on its head, handing Falcons an 8-7 lead on points after the women’s singles between foreign players.
Falcons’ Sanil Shetty then pulled off an upset 2-1 (4-11, 11-10, 11-8) win over Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia in men’s singles match (Indian vs Foreign) to give Falcons a crucial 10-8 lead going into the business end of the tie.
Wu Yang continued her good form then brushed aside Mavericks’ Archana Kamath in women’s singles (Foreign vs Indian) 3-0 (11-2, 11-4, 11-6) to further Falcons lead to 13-8.
Gerell, in his second match of the day, came back from behind to win 9-11, 11-9, 11-3 for a 2-1 win in the men’s singles for foreigners to seal it for Falcons at 15-9.
In the final match of the day, Sofia Polcanova beat Lee Ho Ching 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 11-10) in the women’s singles (foreigners) to give RP-SG three points, but a little too late in the day as Falcons went home 15-12 winners.