For India, the journey ended earlier in the Singapore Smash 2023 tournament, as their top player Manika Batra lost in the women’s and mixed doubles events at the Singapore Sports Hub on Tuesday.
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Manika Batra, who has been India’s top-ranked female table tennis player for a few years now, was the country’s best hope to make a mark at the Singapore Smash 2023. She participated in both the women’s doubles and mixed doubles events, partnering with Archana Kamath and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran respectively.
In the mixed doubles event of Singapore Smash 2023, Manika and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran faced the Japanese pair of Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata in the quarter-finals. They lost 3-2 (9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 7-11) to Harimoto and Hayata. Manika Batra and G Sathiyan started poorly as they conceded the first two games by identical (9-11) margins.
After losing the first set, the Indian pair fought back by winning seven consecutive points. They took the third game 11-8 and made it 2-1. The Indian pair carried the momentum into the fourth game to clinch it 11-5 and set up a decider. However, the Indian table tennis players faltered at the final hurdle. The Japanese pair sealed the contest with a 11-7 margin in the deciding game.
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While in the women’s doubles event of Singapore Smash 2023, Manika and Archana had a hard-fought round of 16 duel. They face off against the Chinese duo of Chen Meng and Wang Yidi. Chen and Wang are currently ranked world No.2 and No.3 in singles, respectively. They proved to be too strong for the Indian pair. They defeated the Indian pair in straight sets 3-2 (2-11, 6-11, 15-13, 12-10, 6-11). Manika and Archana trailed 0-2 after the first two games but rallied to clinch the next two. In the decider, the Indian pair failed to match Chen Meng and Wang Yidi’s tempo as the Chinese pair registered a dominating 11-6 scoreline to knock the Indian pair out.
Earlier, in the men’s doubles of Singapore Smash 2023, the Indian pair of Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar lost in the round of 32.