Chennai Lions raced to a one-sided victory to clinch the Ultimate Table Tennis crown here on Sunday, after edging out Dabang Delhi 8-1. The Sharath Kamal-spearheaded Lions mauled defending champions Dabang Delhi to bring the league to a premature end.
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Chennai cantered to the required 8 tie points in the first three matches itself, while Lions’ Petrissa Solja and Tiago Apolonia, starred in the grand finale, taming Bernadette Szocs 2-1 and Sathiyan G 3-0 to take a formidable lead. Sharath and Petrissa then put up a master class in the Mixed Doubles, collating the last 3 needed points with utmost ease to clinch the title.
“This is an amazing win,” an exultant Sharath said after the victory. “We played near flawless table tennis and came up with the perfect plan for the final,” he added.
Rio Olympics silver medallist Petrissa Solja gave Chennai a flying start, demolishing Bernadette in the opening women’s singles. Petrissa then raced away to a 5-2 lead in the opening set and then bagged six straight points to pocket it 11-5. Much to the dismay of Bernadette, a similar script followed in the second set too, with Solja wrapping it up 11-4. The Romanian, however, recovered in the final set, fetching a crucial point for Delhi. Although trailed by 2 points, she clawed her way back to take a handy 8-5 lead before sealing it 11-9.
In the opening Men’s Singles, Tiago showcased glimpses of his vintage self, decimating the higher-ranked Delhi captain Sathiyan 11-6, 11-7, 11-9. Sathiyan struggled to find a proper rhythm, allowing Tiago to open up a 4-1 lead in the first set. The Portuguese made it 8-3 and then 11-6, to give Chennai the first whiff of a big victory. The second set witnessed amazing action, with Sathiyan relying on his quickness near the table to extract points. Tiago won the second set 11-7 and the last 11-9. An ecstatic Tiago did a Sharath, jumping over the sideboards to celebrate his tie-winning effort.
Sharath and Petrissa were in a different league in the Mixed Doubles, picking up points almost at will. Sharath played calmly, cutting down on unforced errors to make it easier for the pair. Sathiyan and Bernadette simply had no weapons left to fight back into the contest, perhaps still recovering from the thriller two days back. They lost 7-11, 2-11, 3-11 to allow Chennai Lions to sign off as the new champions.
Chennai Lions bt Dabang Delhi TTC 8-1
Women’s Singles: Petrissa Solja bt Bernadette Szocs 2-1 (11-5, 11-4, 9-11); Men’s Singles: Tiago Apolonia bt Sathiyan G. 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-9); Mixed Doubles: Sharath Kamal / Petrissa Solja bt Sathiyan G. / Bernadette Szocs 3-0 (11-7, 11-2, 11-3)