Sweden’s Ekholm carried Falcons TTC into UTT finals

Vastavam web: Romania’s Bernadette Szocs and Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm carried defending champions Falcons TTC into the finals of the Ultimate Table Tennis, setting up an exciting battle for the championship against Dabang Smashers.Szocs starred in two victories while world no. 30 Ekholm, tasked with winning all three sets against Ayhika Mukherjee in the seventh and final clash of the night, easily attained her goal at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here today.

Ekholm overwhelmed Ayhika 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 to upstage Mavericks, who were ahead in the contest all the way till the last fixture.India’s Harmeet Desai too scored an unexpected 2-1 victory over world no. 56 Alvaro Robles. The Mavericks captain, ranked 81, took the first two sets 11-6, 11-10 but the Falcons claimed the third set once again to gain another vital point.The Falcons came into their own in the mixed doubles, with Sanil Shetty and Szocs forcing a 2-1 victory. They beat Harmeet Desai and Doo Hoi Kem, even coming back from 0-5 down to win the second set.

Captain Liam Pitchford, however, couldn’t continue his golden run, losing to Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson 1-2 in a thrilling clash. In a spectacular contest, he came out second best, losing 11-10, 9-11, 10-11 to give back the advantage to the Mavericks.Sanil Shetty battled hard to snatch one point against Ukraine’s Kou Lei to take the semifinal into the seventh and final contest. Sanil looked down and out after losing the first two sets but lifted his game several notches to win the third set.