Falcons beat Challengers in UTT clash

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New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Sanil Shetty and Bernadette Szocs hogged the limelight at the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) tie at the Thyagaraj Stadium here on Sunday, as they gave defending champions Falcons TTC a big 15-6 victory over Empowerji Challengers.

The 28-year-old Sanil lost his singles match 0-3 to France’s Simon Gauzy but bounced back in the mixed doubles, pairing with Bernadette Szocs, to upstage Manav Thakkar and Georgina Pota 11-4, 11-9, 11-8.

The Indo-Romanian pair, who won three of their last four matches, proved their superiority by pocketing the first game 11-4.

Thakkar and Hungarian Pota put up a better show in the second but Shetty and Szocs kept things under control and not only won the game but went on to claim the third as well.

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The 23-year-old Szocs extended her winning run in the singles by upsetting World No 20 Lee Ho Ching 3-0 (11-9, 11-3, 11-10).

Captain Liam Pitchford and Alvaro Robles maintained Falcons’ stranglehold on the proceedings with contrasting victories.

Pitchord continued his winning streak this season with a hard-fought 8-11, 11-7, 11-8 victory against Tiago Apolonia while Spaniard Robles downed India’s teen star Thakkar 11-10, 11-9, 11-2.

Earlier, Matilda Ekholm gave Falcons a winning start, defeating Divya Deshpande 11-9, 11-6, 11-7.

Challengers captain and World No 12 Gauzy levelled the scores with an emphatic 11-5, 11-3, 11-5 victory over Shetty.

But the Falcons came back strongly by winning the next four matches. The Challengers’ other success came in the last match of the tie when Lee Ho Ching defeated Sutirtha Mukherjee.

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