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Table Tennis

Saudi Smash: Manika Batra enters round of 32, faces Wang Manyu

While Manika progressed to the next round of Saudi Smash 2024, Sreeja and Sharath Kamal lost their first-round matches.

Manika Batra Table Tennis

File photo: Manika Batra in action at Ultimate Table Tennis.


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 5 May 2024 5:58 AM GMT

Indian paddlers endured a tough day at the Saudi Smash 2024 table tennis tournament with only Manika Batra winning her first-round match in singles on Saturday.

Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sreeja Akula, and Manika Batra were the Indians in action in the first round of men's and women's singles and only Manika managed to come out triumphant.

Manika defeated Andrea Dragoman of Romania in straight games in the round of 64.

Starting well in the first game, Manika took the 1-0 lead after winning 11-6. Dragoman had other ideas in the second game and she fought back making it 11-11 but Manika's experience came in handy as she clinched the second game.

Manika won the match by dominating in the third game and winning the game 11-8.

Sreeja Akula lost 1-3 to a lower-ranked Jieni Shao of Portugal in her first-round match after conceding advantage twice in two games.

Shao started well and stunned Sreeja with an 11-7 win in the first game. Sreeja fought back in the second game but lost the game 11-13.

In the must-win third game, Sreeja came back well and won the game 11-9 to stay alive in the tournament. However, in the fourth game, Sreeja failed to close the match and lost 12-14 to fall just short of the next round.

Earlier in the day, Achanta Sharath Kamal faced a heartbreaking loss against Quadri Aruna of Nigeria. Despite leading 2-0 in the match, Sharath lost the match 2-3.

Starting well against Aruna, Sharath won the first two games 11-8, and 13-11, and looked like winning the game.

However, Aruna made a comeback and took the next two games 11-8 and 11-5 to make it 2-2. In the final game, both paddlers were tied at 11-11 but Aruna showed nerves to clinch the match 13-11.

What's next?

With just Manika remaining in the singles category, men's and women's doubes players will take the field. Meanwhile, Manika will be up against Wang Manyu of China in the second-round game.

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