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U Mumba punish Goa to march into UTT 2019 semi-finals

Red-hot U Mumba stormed into the semifinals of the Ultimate Table Tennis season three, dismantling formidable Goa Challengers 11-4 with a clinical all-round display here on Monday.
U Mumba punish Goa to march into UTT 2019 semi-finals

The in-form Manav Thakkar and Doo Hoi Kem (World Number 11 women's singles player) were the cornerstone of their massive win, picking up five and six points each respectively.

Doo and Thakkar won their respective opening singles matches to hand the team a distinctive 5-1 advantage just two matches into the tie. Doo edged out a fighting Archana Kamath 3-0, while Thakkar got the better of Amalraj Anthony 2-1 as U Mumba raced ahead 5-1.

Manav and Doo then combined in the crucial mixed doubles and rolled over the Goa pair of Alvaro Robles and Kamath 3-0 to seal the tie in U Mumba's favour (8-1).

U Mumba thus ended their league round matches on 44 points from five matches, making them clear favourites for the knockout stage.

Goa Challengers, on the other hand, were placed third on 30 points and still have a match in hand.

In the opening women's singles, Doo defeated Kamath 3-0 in an extremely-tight contest. Although separated by 128 rankings points with Doo currently placed at world number 11, it seemed a battle of equals on the table.

Kamath, who has been in top form this season, tested Doo at every step as the two indulged in long rallies and speedy play.

If Hong Kong's Doo was quick on her feet and sharp in her returns, Kamath was equally strong in her defensive play and forced her opponent to make many errors.

Doo wrapped up the opening game 11-8, and then won the second on golden point 11-0. In the final game, that also went neck-and-neck, she prevailed 11-8.

Thakkar then added to U Mumba's advantage edging out Amalraj 2-1 in a topsy-turvy battle in the opening men's singles.

Thakkar raced ahead in the first game opening up a 5-1 lead and stayed ahead throughout to wrap it up 11-7. World no. 137 Amalraj changed gears in the ensuing game and was dominant. His sharp angles and strong forehand display pushed Thakkar on the back foot, as Amalraj won the second game 11-5.

In the decider, former world number 1 junior player Thakkar kept up the pressure to notch up a crucial point for his team, winning 11-9.

Thakkar-Doo dominated in the mixed doubles never allowing Robles and Kamath to settle down. They breezed ahead in the opening game 11-7 and despite a strong fight from Robles and Kamath in the second, which went to the golden point, there were no more hiccups. Doo and Thakkar won the last two games 11-10 and 11-8, to pick up three more points to all but kill the contest.

The reverse singles saw Robles decimate Kirill Gerassimenko 2-1 to fetch two points for Goa Challengers, while Sutirtha Mukherjee further consolidate on U Mumba's lead beating the higher-ranked Cheng I-Ching 2-1.

( With inputs from IANS )

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