Dabang Delhi pulled off a thrilling 8-7 victory to book their spot in the final of the Ultimate Table Tennis in New Delhi on Friday.
India’s Sathiyan G and Romania’s Bernadette Szocs set the stage for Delhi, with a grand display of attacking game. They won their respective Singles 2-1 before combining to take 2 more points in the mixed doubles.
But Sweden’s Jon Persson unexpectedly lost 1-2 to Manav Thakkar in a fast-paced encounter that brought U Mumba back into the match.
Needing just one point in the last match of the tie, Krittwika Sinha Roy had to calm her nerves before she won the final game against Sutirtha Mukherjee.
Her and Delhi’s moment came in the third and final set, that too at golden point, to give her side an 8-7 win.
Szocs began Delhi’s march, downing a higher-ranked Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong in the opening women’s singles match.
Delhi captain Sathiyan then fought back from a set down to overcome Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko, setting the stage for an early finish.
Bernadette was at the top of her game all through, pounding in forehands to unsettle Doo Hoi in the opening set itself. She raced away to a healthy 6-3 and 7-5 lead, before she collected four points to win it.
The second set went on par till 7-7 although Doo Hoi didn’t seem to be moving fluently enough. Bernadette made the most of that to claim this one too.
Doo Hoi showed glimpses of her potent game in the third set, engaging Bernadette in long rallies. She broke away for a 6-1 lead only to see the Romanian gain parity at 7-7. It was Bernadette’s turn to move ahead, even reach match point. Doo Hoi, however, dug in and won the next four to clinch a crucial point for U Mumba.
In the first men’s singles, Sathiyan slipped behind to 3-7 in the first set and surrendered it 6-11. He was in top form in the second though, going 8-3 up. That was enough to give him the second set.
Gerassimenko kept pace with the Indian in the third till 6-6, but thereafter it was Sathiyan all over again.
Sathiyan and Bernadette came back to down Manav Thakkar and Doo Hoi in the crucial mixed doubles. In a thrilling encounter, the two pairs matched each other in intensity and strokeplay.
Manav-Doo Hoi, however, picked up the first point for U Mumba, winning the set 11-9 on a contentious note. That got Sathiyan-Bernadette going and they romped home in the next two to hand the U Mumba pair their first defeat in the mixed doubles this season.
In the reverse men’s singles, Sweden’s Persson failed to live up to his rankings, succumbing to the super fast Thakkar’s strokeplay. He fell behind 4-7 but clawed back into the contest, making it 10-10. Manav, however, stole the golden point to give U Mumba the first whiff of a chance.
Persson grabbed the lead in the second set, going all the way to 9-7. But Manav took the next 4 points to shift the pressure to Delhi.
The Swede looked down and out as he slipped to 1-6 and then 6-10. But a spectacular burst of shots saw their fortunes reverse and Persson ended up winning the third set.