Star Indian paddler Manika Batra and Natalia Bajor produced exhilarating performances as Bengaluru Smashers beat Puneri Paltan Table Tennis 8-7 in a Sunday blockbuster of the ongoing IndianOil Ultimate Table Tennis Season 4 in Pune.
Puneri Paltan Table Tennis needed only a game to win to clinch the tie when Natalia came to the table for the last match (Women's Singles). She then defeated Archana Kamath 3-0 to keep Bengaluru Smashers alive in the league.
The first game saw a thrilling 11-8 win for Natalia. She played accurate backhands coupled with powerful forehands to take the second game by the same scoreline. The Polish paddler kept her nerve in the decider and won it by 11-9 with her pinpoint shots.
Earlier, Manika thumped Hana Matelova 2-1 in the second match of the tie to register her third women's singles victory in season 4.
The World No. 35 showed immaculate control on her backends early on to win the first game 11-9 before Hana fought back brilliantly to clinch the second game 11-8 and took the match into the decider.
However, India's highest-ranked player did not lose her focus and pocketed the third game 11-6 as well as the match.
World No. 58 Kirill Gerassimenko beat 2018 ITTF African-Cup champion Omar Assar 2-1 to give Bengaluru franchise a perfect start.
The World No. 23 Omar began the first game in aggressive mode and targeted the flanks to win it by 11-8 before Kirill made an astonishing comeback to clinch the second game through a golden point.
The third game also went to the golden point where the Kazak paddler showcased immense mental fortitude to take the game and match.
In the third match (Mixed Doubles) of the tie, Hana and Manush Shah beat Manika and Kirill 3-0 as they brought Puneri Paltan Table Tennis back into the contest.
The Bengaluru Smashers pair had a good start but Hana and Manush were quick to react and won the first game 11-9. They carried the momentum to clinch the second game through the golden point. The third game also went in the favour of Hana and Manush by 11-4.
Puneri Paltan Table Tennis further extended their lead as Manush defeated Jeet Chandra 2-1 in the penultimate match of the tie.
The Vadodara-based paddler looked confident from the first serve and clinched the opening game 11-9 before winning the next by the same scoreline. Jeet pocketed the third game 11-7 to keep Bengaluru Smashers' hopes alive.