It was a mixed day for the Indian table tennis contingent at the WTT Contender Doha on Sunday.
Youngster Archana Kamath and the mixed doubles pair of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sutirtha Mukherjee progressed to the next round of qualifiers.
However, Mudit Dani, who broke into the top 200 last year, and Ayhika Mukherjee, bowed out of the men’s and women’s singles respectively. Mudit Dani lost in four games to Rio 2016 Olympian Olah Benedek of Finland while Ayhika Mukherjee fell to Spain’s Sofia Xuan-Zhang in straight games.
G Sathiyan, who won his first national title last week, and former national champion Sutirtha Mukherjee beat the Indonesian pair of Aminah Siti and Syahrizal Nauval Akbar Mamonto 11-4, 15-13, 11-4.
Sathiyan-Sutirtha dominated the first game, with Sathiyan alternating between being the aggressor and maintaining the rallies while Sutirtha was solid with her returns.
In the second game, Mamonto-Siti put up a better fight, inducing errors from the Indian table tennis players, and prolonged the rallies. However, Sathiyan-Sutirtha held firm, notching up enough points to stay ahead and take the game when Mamonto sent a return wide.
The third game was a straight-forward affair as the Indians raced to a 6-0 lead before Mamonto-Siti won a point. Sathiyan-Sutirtha constantly asked questions of the Indonesians and they crumbled under pressure, handing an easy win to the Indian pair.
Sathiyan-Sutirtha will next face Daniel Gonzalez and Melanie Diaz of Puerto Rico for a place in the mixed doubles main draw at the WTT Contender Doha.
Meanwhile, youngster Archana Kamath notched an impressive victory, beating local player Maha Faramarzi 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 in the women’s singles qualifiers.
Kamath, the former world No. 2 in the U-21 rankings, was expectedly dominant, winning points with the immaculate placement of her shots. Faramarzi was slow off the blocks and could only win points off unforced errors made by Kamath, which were infrequent.
The 21-year-old Archana Kamath was superior with her smashes and backhand returns and sailed through to the next round, where she will face Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova.