Tokyo Olympics: Manika Batra's dream run is jolted to an end by Sofia Polcanova
Failing to find answers to Sofia Polcanova's game, Indian table tennis star Manika Batra's dream Olympic outing is brought to a drastic end.
Bringing an incredible second Olympic outing to an end, Indian table tennis superstar Manika Batra's Tokyo Olympics campaign dwindled to a close as formidable opponent, World No. 17 Sofia Polcanova dashed the medal dreams of the Indian in their Round of 32 clash.
Wrapping up business in 27 minutes, Manika Batra was shown the door after she lost in straight sets to the higher-ranked Austrian, 11-8, 11-2, 11-5,11-7, who played her first match at the Tokyo Olympics today after receiving byes in the previous rounds.
After having made history by becoming the first Indian woman paddler to win an Olympic match in 29 years and becoming the first Indian table tennis player to reach the 3rd round of the Games, Manika Batra said her farewells at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
The World No. 62 player, Manika got the initial 2 points of the first game before the World No. 17 paddler began to show her mettle in the match. Playing with Batra can be dangerous as she switches spins in no time but this is Polcanova we are talking about - she can be quite fearless.
Featuring a lot of intense rallies right from the get-go, the Austrian started to take command and forced errors to spill from Manika Batra's forehand. However, Manika bounced back to come up 8-9 before Polcanova took charge again to clinch the heated first game, 11-8.
Into the second game, Polcanova began to attack more and led the way at 8-2 and Batra could not get any more points on the board. Manika struggled to find her rhythm as Polcanova successfully managed to confuse the pace of the game. Needing just 4 minutes to conclude the second game in a one-sided encounter, Polcanova closed it 11-2.
The third game saw more attack from Manika Batra whose back was now against the wall. She clinched the first two points in the third game before Polcanova's defense began and she levelled at 2 all. Needing 6 minutes here to silence Batra, Polcanova raced ahead to seize the third game 11-5.
Into the fourth and final game, Polcanova made a strong start as Batra committed too many forehand errors.Manika offered some competition, keeping close as Polcanova stayed ahead at 9-7.
However, there was simply no denying the Austrian from getting the win today as Manika's valiant efforts to make a comeback went in vain as Polcanova neatly closed the win in straight games, 11-8, 11-2,11-5, 11-7.
This brings an end to the Women's Singles campaign for Indian in table tennis as only Achanta Sharath Kamal remains in the fray for the Men's Individual event.
Earlier in the day, Sutirtha Mukherjee also bundled out in straight games and Manika had to suffer the same fate, on what has been a bittersweet Monday for India at the Tokyo Olympics.