Sathiyan, Manika through to semis in mixed doubles at WTT Contender
Budapest/UNI: Indian mixed doubles pair of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra stunned the top seeds Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova of Slovakia to move into the semi-finals of the World Table Tennis contender last night.
The Indian internationals, who have been in great touch at the Hungary event, continued their form to beat the world No 7 pair 3-2 (11-4, 3-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9) in the last-eight match.
Manika Batra continued her winning run in the singles as well, while the top-ranked Indian table tennis player beat Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin 3-2 (12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8) to seal her place in the quarter-finals of the women’s event.
G Sathiyan, however, bowed out of the men’s singles event following an uncharacteristic loss to the world number 102, Italian Niagol Stoyanov.
Ranked 39th in the world, G Sathiyan was expected to ease through the contest until the Italian turned the tables on him with a 12-10, 11-7, 12-10, 19-17 win.
Later, Manav Thakkar and Harmeet Desai too lost their respective Round of 16 encounters in the men’s singles.
While Manav Thakkar lost to Russia’s Kirill Skachkob 3-2 (10-12, 13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9), Harmeet Desai fell short against Dang Qiu of Germany 3-1 (5-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-4).
The Indian duo, however, won their men’s double match to confirm a place in the semi-finals after they beat the local pair Erik Huzsvar and David Szantosi 3-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8).
Sreeja Akula too held her ground to beat a higher-ranked Barbora Balazova of Slovakia in straight games to move into the last eight of the women’s singles.
Ranked 150th in the world, the Indian table tennis player registered an 11-9, 11-6, 13-11 win over the world No. 53 to keep her WTT Contender campaign alive. Sreeja Akula will take on Manika Batra next for a place in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Archana Kamath had to bow out of the WTT Contender in Budapest following her 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-6) loss to Russia’s Mariia Tailakova.