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Saudi Smash 2024: Indian TT star Manika Batra’s historic run ends in quarter-finals, loses to Japan's Hina Hayata
Saudi Smash
Image Instagrammed by Manika Batra

Saudi Smash 2024: Indian TT star Manika Batra’s historic run ends in quarter-finals, loses to Japan's Hina Hayata

| @indiablooms | 10 May 2024, 01:02 am

Indian TT player Manika Batra’s historic run at the Saudi Smash 2024 table tennis tournament ended after she lost to the former Asian champion Hina Hayata of Japan in the women’s singles quarter-final match in Jeddah on Thursday.

Competing at the Infinity Arena in King Abdullah Sports City, world No. 39 Manika Batra could not succeed in her match with the fifth-ranked Hina Hayata and lost the contest 4-1 (11-7, 6-11, 4-11,11-13, 2-11) in 39 minutes.

The Indian table tennis player took an early lead but southpaw Hayata went on to win the next four games. This was Batra’s third defeat to Hayata in four meetings.

On Wednesday, Batra became the first Indian singles table tennis player to reach the quarter-finals of a WTT Grand Smash event with a convincing 3-0 win over world No. 14 Nina Mittelham of Germany.

The WTT Grand Smash tournaments, running since 2021, are the marquee annual events on the table tennis calendar similar to Grand Slams in tennis.

In the round of 32, Manika Batra stunned world No. 2 and former world champion Wang Manyu of the People’s Republic of China.

Manika recently lost her place to Sreeja Akula as the top-ranked women’s singles player in India. Sreeja is currently ranked 38th in the world.

However, Batra’s run at the Saudi Smash will lift her into the top 30 of the singles rankings for the first time. Her best singles ranking is 33, achieved early last year.

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