UTT: Sathiyan stars but Dabang Delhi lose to Puneri Paltan
Going into the last match of the day with the overall scores tied 6-6, Germany's Sabine Winter showed no signs of nerves as she overcame Romania's Bernadette Szocs 2-1 to clinch that crucial extra point.
India's top-ranked player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran produced a stellar performance, beating Harmeet Desai in the Men's Singles and then pairing up with Bernadette Szocs to win two matches and clinch 5 points.
But that was not enough as Paltan won both the Women's Singles and the second Men's Singles.
Ayhika Mukherjee began Paltan's campaign on a positive note, comfortably beating Krittwika Sinha Roy, picking up the 3 points on offer in the first Women's Singles contest.
She seemed to be in a bit of bother as she fell behind 4-6 and 9-10. She, however, saved the golden point and won one more to take the game. She was on a roll in the second game, jumping to a 6-2 lead to win it rather easily.
The third game was, however, tight, with Krittwika taking her all the way to another golden point tussle. Ayhika, flush with her victory in the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship in Orissa, held her nerve to win all the points for her team.
Puneri Pultan's gambit of unleashing Harmeet against Sathiyan didn't come off, with the latter exacting revenge for his defeat in the Commonwealth TT last week.
The clash, however, lived up to expectations with both engaging in long, exciting rallies. World No. 24 Sathiyan just didn't give Harmeet any time to settle down, winning the first game 11-3; he, however, couldn't maintain the pressure and ended up losing 9-11.
The decider proved to be a thriller, with the scores locked at 8-all.
Sathiyan captured the next two points before wrapping it 11-9. The Indian star player then combined with Romania's Bernadette Szocs to pocket the Mixed Doubles 3 points too. They beat Chuang Chih Yuan-Ayhika Mukherjee duo 3-0.
The second Men's Singles too was equally riveting, with Sweden's Jon Persson and Taiwan's Chuang Chih-Yuan putting up a great exhibition of attacking TT, marked by big shots, intense rallies and spectacular points.
Chih-Yuan did justice to his World Ranking of No. 28, showing his class to quell Persson's spirited challenge 2-1. He, however, yielded the third game to give Paltan a valuable point.