Taiwan’s Cheng I-Ching and India’s Amalraj Anthony engineered an easy 11-4 victory for Goa Challengers over Puneri Paltan to enter the semifinals of the Ultimate Table Tennis tournament here on Wednesday.
With the win, Goa joined U Mumba, Dabang Delhi and Chennai Lions in the semifinals of the tournament.
Delhi and Chennai clash in the last tie on Thursday to decide the semifinals line-up.
I-Ching and Amalraj won their respective singles matches and also successfully paired up in the mixed doubles to garner eight 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 I-Ching began Goa’s charge, rattling Ayhika Mukherjee of Paltan with her array of big shots. Ayhika defended smartly in the first set but could not sustain the fight beyond the halfway stage. From 6-6, she capitulated to an 8-11 defeat.
I-Ching got a grip on Mukherjee’s game by then, and raced to a 6-0 lead in the second set. She conceded only one point thereafter to make it a walk in the park. She was equally dominant in the third, wrapping it up 11-5 to give Goa the perfect start.
Alvaro Robles, however, could not contain Chuang Chih-Yuan in the men’s singles, allowing Paltan to keep their heads above water. He stayed level with Chih-Yuan till 9-9 but gave away the next two points to go down 9-11.
Alvaro 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 one 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 semifinals. They fell behind 0-5 quickly but had the temperament to recover and make it 6-6. Goa simply walked away from there to win the first set 11-7.
The second set had an exactly opposite story. I-Ching and Amalraj took 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 three points for a satisfying win.
In the reverse women’s singles, Archana Kamath overcame Sabine Winter 8-11,11-6, 11-9.