Commonwealth Games 2022 table tennis: Manika Batra and Co. stunned by Malaysia in women’s team quarter-finals

The Indian men’s table tennis team will play Bangladesh in their quarter-finals on Sunday. 

By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

Defending champions India, led by their top-ranked table tennis player Manika Batra, went down to Malaysia 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the Commonwealth Games 2022 women’s table tennis team event on Saturday.

The Indian women’s team, who did not drop a match across the three group stage ties, were handed a rude awakening when national champion Sreeja Akula and Reeth Tennison lost to Karen Lyne and Li Sian Alice 3-1 (7-11, 6-11, 11-5, 6-11) in the first doubles match at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.

None of the Malaysian table tennis players were ranked inside the top 300 of the ITTF singles rankings. Nevertheless, the higher-ranked Indians found it difficult to break the strong defence of their opponents.

India’s ace table tennis player Manika Batra, ranked 41st, was in a spot of bother against world No. 556 Ying Ho in the second match. However, Manika Batra stamped her authority in the deciding game to win 3-2 (8-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 3-11) and restore parity.

Sreeja Akula then turned it on against Li Sian Alice Chang to win 3-0 (11-6, 11-6, 11-9) and give India a 2-1 advantage in the five-match tie.

Karen Lyne then handed Manika Batra a stunning 3-0 (11-6, 11-3, 11-9) loss in the fourth game as the tie headed into the decider.

With the match resting on her shoulders, Reeth Tennison pulled out all the stops against Ying Ho in the fifth match. However, the 27-year-old Indian could not see her team through to the semi-finals and lost the match 3-2 (10-12, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11 - 9).

Earlier in the day, India outplayed Guyana 3-0 to finish on top of Group 2.

Men’s table tennis team remains undefeated at CWG

Like the women’s team, the Indian men’s table tennis team too remained unbeaten in the group stage with a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland. India will play Bangladesh in their quarter-finals on Sunday.

Sharath Kamal, playing in his fifth Commonwealth Games, teamed up with Harmeet Desai to beat James Skelton and Owen Cathcart 3-1 (11-3, 9-11, 11-6, 11-1) in the opening match.

With India’s top-ranked men’s table tennis player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran rested for the tie, Sanil Shetty took on the mantle to give India a 2-0 lead by defeating Paul Mccreery 3-0 (11-5, 15-13, 11-6).

In the third match of the tie, Harmeet Desai mounted a comeback after being 2-1 down at one stage to defeat Owen Cathcart 3-2 (5-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-3, 11-6).

The men’s singles and doubles table tennis events at Birmingham 2022 are scheduled from August 3 to August 8.

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