India’s star player Sharath Kamal tapped into his bag of experience to give Chennai Lions a thrilling 8-7 victory over Goa Challengers in the Ultimate Table Tennis in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The World No. 32 first shepherded a shaky Petrissa Solja to collect two crucial mixed doubles points for his side before absorbing a big scare from Amalraj Anthony to add two more into the team’s kitty in the reverse men’s singles.
His four points, coupled with two from Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia and one from Petrissa, meant that the Chennai needed only one more point in the fifth and final clash.
The women’s singles, featuring two Indians, saw Madhurika Patkar steal that solitary point against a rampaging Archana Kamath to seal the win for the Lions.
Madhurika lost 1-2 but pumped her fist in delight at saving the day for her team.
Earlier, Goa’s Cheng I-Ching too survived a minor scare to put her side ahead in the opening women’s singles.
The World No. 8 from Taiwan spurted to a big 6-0 lead in the first, only to see Petrissa claw back into the game, allowing it to go all the way to 10-10.
Cheng, however, unleashed a powerful forehand to clinch the crucial golden point and the first point for her team.
She was on song in the second set, though, racing away to a commanding 9-1 lead. She conceded only one more point to give herself a nice big win.
The final set, however, saw a different story unfold. Petrissa played a steady game to win it 11-6, tossing one point into Chennai’s bag.
In an all-European men’s singles clash, Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia put up a dominant display to bring Chennai back into the game. Tiago pulled out his big shots to unsettle Alvaro Robles of Spain.
Tiago won the first set 11-5 but lost his way in the next, capitulating to a 2-11 defeat. He, however, regained his composure to clinch the third set 11-7.