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Fri. Mar 24th, 2023
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NEW DELHI: Ace Indian paddler Manika Batra starred on the opening day of the main draw of the World Table Tennis (WTT) Star Contender Goa as she registered three wins across formats at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Panaji.
Manika, presently ranked 34 in the world, first won her women’s singles round of 64 match and then successively partnered Archana Kamath and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, to reach the quarter-finals of the women’s and mixed doubles respectively, in her first appearance at a home WTT tournament.
Sutirtha Mukherjee was the other Indian to win all her matches on the day, emerging triumphant in the women’s singles and doubles respectively.
However, in what will be heartbreak for home fans, Indian legend Achanta Sharath Kamal bowed out of the tournament after going down in both his singles and doubles matches.
In the morning session, Sharath and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran lost their men’s doubles round of 16 match to Koreans Jaehyun An and Seungmin Cho 3-1 (11-6,11-7,7-11,11-8).
Then in the final match of the day, rising Kazakh star Kirill Gerassimenko defeated the reigning Commonwealth Games champion in straight games (3-0: 11-8,11-7,11-8) to break Indian hearts.
Manika, the highest ranked Indian in women’s singles, got off to a flying start early in the first session, defeating 152nd ranked Englishwoman Ho Tin-Tin 3-0 (11-4,11-8,11-5).
She then partnered Archana to a hard-fought 3-2 (8-11,9-11,11-5,11-6,12-10) win over the Hong Kong, China, pairing of Li Ching Wan and Zhu Chengzhu, after being 0-2 down at one stage to the qualifiers.
Finally, in the evening session, her pairing with Sathiyan prevailed over the Korean pair of Lim Jonghoon and Shin Yubin in four games (3-1: 11-7,3-11,11-6,11-6) in a mixed doubles match.
“I am really happy that this tournament WTT Star Contender is happening for the first time in India. Home crowd is here, and I am really happy that people will come to cheer for me and for all the Indian players,” said Batra.
“Today I won my singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Mixed doubles were really tough as we have lost against them twice before. But this time we won, and I am really happy with that win. Let’s see what happens in this tournament. I’ll give my 100% and my best for my country and for myself,” added Batra.

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