Riding on former women’s national champion Sutirtha Mukherjee stunning win over fancied Petrissa Solja (Germany), debutants U Mumba overpowered formidable Chennai Lions 9-6 in the Ultimate Table Tennis here on Friday.
India’s top star Sharath Kamal drew his Lions back into the contest by recovering 5 points from U Mumba, 2 in the mixed doubles along with the valiant Petrissa and another 2 in the second men’s singles contest to make it 6-6 going into the final fixture of the evening.
But Hong Kong’s experienced Doo Hoi Kem was too powerful for Madhurika Patkar, sweeping the last three points of the tie to give U Mumba a massive win.
Sutirtha Mukherjee set the ball rolling for U Mumba, cruising to an unexpected 5-1 lead in the opening game. She made the most of that stunning start to take the game 11-7. She then showed amazing composure, fighting back from 5-10 to win her own golden point.
Sutirtha, however, couldn’t continue the momentum, losing the decider 5-11. But she had garnered two crucial points for U Mumba.
Kazakhastan’s Kirill Gerassimenko was quick to seize the opportunity, toppling Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia (former World No. 13) 2-1 in the men’s singles. It was a gripping contest, with the young Kirill showing great defensive skills while also unleashing deceptive shots from close to the table.
Kirill stayed ahead for most of the opening game although Tiago caught up with him twice, at 5-5 and 10-10. But Kirill was cool enough to conjure a backhand winner to pour another point into the team’s kitty.
The next game too was close but Kirill managed to streak ahead from 7-7 to pick up a second point for himself and his team. He lost the third game tamely though, setting the stage for Sharath.
Sharath and Petrissa Solja combined much better to ease past Manav Thakkar and Doo Hoi Kem 2-1. They dominated the contest, with Sharath playing his usual attacking game. But true to day, the third game went to the losers.
Sharath began strongly against Manav, winning the first 11-7. Manav however, clawed back to take the next game 11-5. The decider proved to be a thriller, with the duo battling for every point, before the senior Indian’s experience bailed him out.