Goa Challengers  rout Puneri  Paltan ,to complete  the  semifinal lineup of UTT

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Harpal Singh Bedi

CHENG I-CHING of Team Goa Challengers and AMALRAJ ANTHONY ARPUTHARAJ of Team Goa Challengers in action during the match of the Ultimate Table Tennis League played between Team Puneri Paltan Table Tennis and Team Goa Challengers at Thayagraj Stadium in Delhi, India on 7th August 2019. Photo : Sandeep Shetty / Focus Sports / Ultimate Table Tennis
CHENG I-CHING of Team Goa Challengers and AMALRAJ ANTHONY ARPUTHARAJ of Team Goa Challengers in action during the match of the Ultimate Table Tennis League played between Team Puneri Paltan Table Tennis and Team Goa Challengers at Thayagraj Stadium in Delhi, India on 7th August 2019.
Photo : Sandeep Shetty / Focus Sports / Ultimate Table Tennis

New Delhi:  Amalraj Anthony  in tandem with  Taiwan’s Cheng I-Ching   enabled  Goa Challengers  trounce   Puneri Paltan  11-4  to complete the semi final line up  of  the Ultimate Table Tennis here on Wednesday.

The Challengers in the process  joined  U Mumba, Dabang Delhi and Chennai Lions in the semifinals.

I-Ching and Amalraj romped home in their Singles matches and also successfully paired up in the Mixed Doubles to garner 8 mega points for Goa. Spain’s Alvaro Robles and India’s Archana Kamath collected 1 and 2 points each to make it a grand victory.

 World No. 9 Cheng I-Ching  opened  Goa’s campaign , rattling Ayhika Mukherjee of Paltan with her array of big shots. Ayhika defended smartly in the first set but couldn’t sustain the fight beyond the halfway stage. From 6-6, she capitulated to an 8-11 defeat.

 I-Ching got a grip on her game by then, and bounced away to a 6-0 lead. She conceded only one point thereafter to make it a walk in the park. She was equally dominant in the third, wrapping it 11-5 to give the Challengers the perfect start.

 Alvaro Robles, however, couldn’t contain Chuang Chih-Yuan in the Men’s Singles, allowing Paltan to keep their heads above water. He stayed abreast of Chih-Yuan till 9-9 but gave away the next two points to go down 9-11.  He was up for the fight in the second set, though, countering the World No. 36 with his own brand of shots. It fetched him the desired result and a crucial 1 point for his team. The third set, however, proved to be beyond him, as Chih-Yuan broke away at 6-4 to wrap it 11-5.

   I-Ching then returned to pair up with Amalraj in the Mixed Doubles, looking to seal Goa’s place in the semis. They fell behind 0-5 quickly but had the temperament to recover and make it 6-6. They simply walked away from there to win the first set 11-7.

  The second, ironically, saw an exactly opposite story. I-Ching and Amalraj created a 4-point lead at 7-3, only to see the Paltan pair of Chih-Yuan-Ayhika catch up with them. They lost it 9-11. The Goan pair cut down their mistakes in the third to clinch it 11-7.

In the reverse Men’s Singles, Amalraj got the better of Harmeet Desai 3-0. It proved to be a surprisingly one-sided contest, with Amalraj racing away to a 11-7, 11-7 win the first two sets. The third was closer, with Harmeet even sniffing a win at 10-8. But Amalraj clinched the next 3 points for a satisfying win. In the reverse Women’s Singles, Archana Kamath overcame Sabine Winter, prevailing losing 8-11,11-6, 11-9.

 Puneri Paltan Table Tennis lost to Goa Challengers: 4-11

Women’s Singles: Ayhika Mukherjee lost to Cheng-I-Ching 0-3 (8-11, 1-11, 5-11)
Men’s Singles: Chuang Chih-Yuan bt Alvaro Robles 2-1 (11-9, 10-11, 11-5)
Mixed Doubles: Chuang Chih-Yuan & Ayhika Mukherjee lost to Amalraj Anthony & Cheng-I-Ching 1-2 (7-11, 11-9, 7-11)
Men’s Singles: Harmeet Desai lost to  Amalraj Anthony 0-3 (7-11, 7-11, 10-11)
Women’s Singles: Sabine Winter lost to Archana Kamath 1-2 (11-8, 6-11, 9-11 

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