Chennai : Oilmax Stag Yoddhas led Shaze Challengers 7-5 after four gripping matches in their ongoing tie in the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the Nehru Indoor Stadium.
Soumyajit Ghosh put Challengers ahead with a stunning 2-1 victory over Nigerian world No 29 Aruna Quadri of Yoddhas in the men’s singles (Indian versus Foreign), the opening match of the day.
World no. 85 Ghosh cruised to a 11-2 win in the opening game before Quadri staged a strong comeback to win the second at 11-9.
The Nigerian jumped to a 7-2 lead in the third before the Indian rallied brilliantly to turn the contest on its head, taking the lead at 8-7 before winning the game at 11-8.
China-born German world No. 9 Han Ying extended Challengers’ lead to 4-2 with a 2-1 win over Manika Batra in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian).
Indian world No. 104 Manika pulled off a surprise win in the opening game 11-8, before experienced Ying regained control take the next at 11-5 and was pushed to the limit before holding on to win the third game on the golden point (11-10). In a turn in fortune, Yoddhas’ mixed doubles (Indian/Foreign) pair of Abhishek Yadav/Doo Hoi Kem (HK) routed Soumyajit and Petrissa Solja (Germany) 3-0 (11-10. 11- 9, 11-6) to help their side edge ahead on points at 5-4.
Yoddhas’ Quadri rallied from a game down to win his second match of the day, the men’s singles (foreign player category), against Croatia’s Andrej Gacina 2-1 (10-11, 11-6, 11-3) to put his team ahead 7-5 after four matches. Five more matches remain in the ongoing tie.
Meanwhile, Yoddhas’ top player and world number 19 Panagiotis Gionis of Greece has been ruled out of the remainder of the league due to an inflammation in heel and has been replaced by Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar.