Wu Yang and Liam Pitchford won both their matches to help Falcons TTC beat DHFL Maharashtra United 14-5 in the first semi-final of the inaugural CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the NSCI in Mumbai on Friday. According to the rules, the team to reach the 14-point mark first was to win the knockout tie.Earlier in the league stage, Falcons had defeated the DHFL Maharashtra United 17-10. In the first match of the tie, Hong Kong world No. 8 Wong Chun Ting put DHFL Maharashtra United ahead with a 2-1 win over ‘foreigner slayer’ Sanil Shetty, ranked 201 in the world, in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian).Highlights: Wong Chun Ting overcame a resilient @ShettySanil 2-1 in the first Match of the semi-final Tie!#UpTheGame #MUvFAL pic.twitter.com/27mXs7hh8l- Ultimate TableTennis (@UltTableTennis) July 28, 2017The world No. 8 finally played his ranking against Shetty as he struck decisive winners to down the pumped-up Mumbai boy.However, the local hero did take one game off Wong to give his team a very important point early in the tie. That flew like a ?????????#UpTheGame #MUvFAL https://t.co/1KAw1nIitQ pic.twitter.com/n2jI75vYdz- Ultimate TableTennis (@UltTableTennis) July 28, 2017The loss of the first match was made up for by Chinese world No. 13 Wu Yang as she brushed aside 279-ranked Pooja Sahasrabudhe Koparkar 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian) for Falcons TTC to move 4-2 ahead on points. Up next, DHFL Maharashtra United introduced a new pair of Harmeet Desai and Portuguese Fu Yu for the mixed doubles (Foreign/Indian pair) and duo edged out Sanil Shetty and his partner Lee Ho Ching 2-1 on their debut together to reduce their margin of deficit to 4-5. advertisementBritain’s Liam Pitchford, in the fourth match of the tie, pulled off an upset win over Wong Chun Ting 2-1 in the men’s singles (Foreign player category) to extend Falcons TTC’s lead to 7-5.Highlights: @liampitchford came out on top against Wong Chun Ting, beating him 2-1 in Match 4!#UpTheGame #MUvFAL pic.twitter.com/EhrbqEMxDS- Ultimate TableTennis (@UltTableTennis) July 28, 2017Pitchford won a crucial tie for his team and it was from here that the fortunes truly turned worse for the DHFL Maharashtra United.The English banked on his veiled shots and huge reach to trump Wong. Chinese ace Wu Yang won her second outing of the day as she put it past China-born Austrian world No. 22 Liu Jia 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign player category) to take Falcons TTC a step closer to victory at 10-5.Lui Jia had defeated the Chinese in the last tie between the two teams but the Wu Yang did her homework work and didn’t let give the world No. 22 any chance this time around. Liam Pitchford then won his second match of the day, beating Harmeet Desai 3-0 in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to move Falcons TTC to 13-5, one point way from victory. In a surprise post that, Sutirtha Mukherjee won the very first game of her women’s singles match against Liu Jia 11-10 to seal the tie for Falcons TTC.Highlights: @falconsttc needed 1? point & Sutirtha needed only 1? Game in Match 7 to seal qualification to the final!#UpTheGame #MUvFAL pic.twitter.com/iX0PF7yNnJ- Ultimate TableTennis (@UltTableTennis) July 28, 2017Shaze Challengers will meet Dabang Smashers TTC in the second semi-final on Saturday, with the final to be played on Sunday.Falcons TTC beat DHFL Maharashtra United 14-5. Results:MS – Sanil Shetty lost to Wong Chun Ting 1-2 (8-11, 11-5, 3-11)WS – Wu Yang beat Pooja Sahasrabudhe Koparkar 3-0 (11-2, 11-4, 11-2)MD – Sanil Shetty/Lee Ho Ching lost to Harmeet Desai/Fu Yu 1-2 (6-11, 11-5, 5-11), MS – Liam Pitchford beat Wong Chun Ting 2-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-4)WS – Wu Yang beat bt Liu Jia 3-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-6)MS – Liam Pitchford beat Harmeet Desai 3-0 (11-6, 11-10, 11-7)WS – Sutirtha Mukherjee beat Liu Jia 1-0 (11-10)
A hoped-for fight to the finish for the year-end number one ranking at next month’s ATP World Tour Finals in London will likely be a coronation for Rafa Nadal, who is virtually guaranteed ending 2017 top of the pile.Roger Federer’s eighth Swiss Indoors title on Sunday reduced the points gap on the Spaniard to 1,460 points, but his subsequent withdrawal from this week’s Paris Masters means Nadal is poised to finish top for the fourth time in his career.With 1,500 points available in London for winning the title, having won all three round-robin matches, the 31-year-old Nadal needs to win just one round in Paris to put himself out of reach of the 19-times grand slam champion.It is a far cry from last year when the year-end ranking was decided in the last match of the season at London’s O2 Arena when Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic to seal it.”My body is asking for a break,” 36-year-old Federer, who beat Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in Basel to claim his 95th career title, said of his decision to give up the chase of Nadal.”Basel takes a lot out of me emotionally. I had five matches in six days. I feel sorry and sad for Paris.”I’d like to be fully fit for London (the World Tour Finals) and for 2018.”I did think about the ranking, but I’m so far back in the points race that it was almost out of the question.”Nadal, who shared this year’s grand slam titles with Federer, winning a 10th French Open and third U.S. Open title while the Swiss took the Australian and Wimbledon titles, starts his Paris campaign against either German serve-and-volleyer Mischa Zverev or young South Korean Hyeon Chung.advertisementFederer has finished the year as number one five times, one less than record-holder Pete Sampras.Reuters Photo The current ATP rankings and point scores are as follows:1. Rafael Nadal (Spain) 10,465 points2. Roger Federer (Switzerland) 9,0053. Andy Murray (United Kingdom) 4,7904. Alexander Zverev (Germany) 4,4005. Marin Cilic (Croatia) 4,1856. Dominic Thiem (Austria) 3,9357. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 3,7658. Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 3,6509. Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) 3,36010. David Goffin (Belgium) 2,975.