Thakkar stuns Karlsson as Challengers win big in UTT

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New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) Teenaged Manav Thakkar turned in a sensational display, stunning World No 20 Kristian Karlsson 2-1 to inspire Empowerji Challengers to a 15-6 victory against Maharashtra United in the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex here on Thursday.

The 18-year-old Thakkar rattled his Swedish rival, ranked 223 places above him with an attacking display to win 11-9, 8-11, 11-8.

He had earlier helped Challengers assert their dominance by clinching the mixed doubles with Hungarian Georgina Pota. They downed Anthony Amalraj/Elizabeta Samara in straight games 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-10) to surge ahead as the scores after the first two matches were tied 3-3.

Tiago Apolonia, Lee Ho Ching and Pota swelled the tally with impressive victories in their respective singles.

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The big win helped Challengers rise to the third spot (30 points) pushing Maharashtra to the fourth spot (26 points).

Maharashtra were hampered by an injury to their top foreign player, World No 19 Elizabeta, who twisted her ankle in the second game of the mixed doubles.

She returned to play after receiving treatment but the injury affected the Romanian’s movement. The 29-year-old lost to Hong Kong’s World No 20 Lee Ho Ching 0-3.

Lily Zhang’s narrow 2-1 victory over Divya Deshpande (6-11, 11-10, 11-10) was the only success for Maharashtra, who lost six of the seven matches in the tie.

The decision to field Karlsson in two singles did not bear fruit as he lost to World No 40 Apolonia 1-2 (11-9, 8-11, 11-9) and Thakkar.

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Pota completed Challengers’ domination with a 2-1 win (11-7, 11-7, 9-11) against Madhurika Patkar.



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