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Table Tennis

WTT Star Contender Goa: Manika, Sutirtha keep Indian challenge alive

Both the Indian women paddlers have made it to the Round of 16.

WTT Star Contender Goa: Manika, Sutirtha keep Indian challenge alive
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Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee at the WTT Star Contender Goa.

By

The Bridge Desk

Published: 2 March 2023 4:39 PM GMT

In yet another day of upsets, Indian women paddlers Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee did the star-turn for India at the WTT Star Contender Goa, overcoming higher-ranked opponents to move into the last 16 stage.

The biggest upset of the day at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium was however affected by 20-year-old Korean youngster Cho Daeseong, who ousted Chinese world number one in men’s singles Fan Zhendong.

The day, as far as hosts India were concerned, belonged to the two women paddlers Manika and Sutirtha. Manika, the India number one, ousted Puerto Rican star and world number (wr) #14 Adriana Diaz 3-1 (11-9,11-8,5-11,11-8) in the evening session.

Sutirtha, currently ranked 146, had earlier in the morning got the better of Jia Nan Yuan (wr #18) of France 3-0 (11-7,11-8,11-7). Manika will be up against China’s Qian Tianyi (wr #20) while Sutirtha will face yet another veteran Fu Yu (wr #19) of Portugal.

An exhausted Manika, whose defensive chops were too hot to handle for Adriana, said after the match, “I am really happy that I won today against Adriana Diaz. Let's see what happens in the next round. I have played her before and will have some strategies against her. I'll just give my best and I will just play my best game tomorrow for my country and for myself.”

Sutirtha, whose impeccable timing and power on the forehand have been her strength in tournament, also shared her thoughts after the match saying, “I feel absolutely great since I managed to beat a top 20 player. Tomorrow I'll be playing against Yu Fu and I am hoping that I will win against her as well.

"I had faced Yuan previously also and had conceded the match with a close margin. This time I didn't think much about the rankings and I just went with a mindset to play freely and that led me to this victory.”

Manika, Sathiyan bow out in mixed doubles

The Indian mixed doubles pair of Manika Batra and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran made a quarter-final exit, going down to Miwa Harimoto and Shunsuke Togami of Japan in three straight games (3-0: 12-10,11-6,11-6).

They face the French pair of Emmanuel Lebesson and Jia Nan Yuan in the semi-finals. The other mixed doubles semi-final will be yet another Japan-Korea affair.

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