Manika Batra, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran make winning starts at WTT Contender Budapest

Other Indian table tennis players Manav Thakkar, Harmeet Desai, Archana Kamath and Sreeja Akula also won their opening matches in the main draw.

By Aarish Ansari
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

Indian table tennis players Manika Batra and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran advanced to the second round of their respective singles events at the WTT Contender Budapest on Tuesday.

Tokyo 2020-returned Manika Batra dug deep to overcome the spirited Sabine Winter of Germany in the round of 32 clash at the Budapest Olympic Sports Hall. The sixth-seeded Indian came back from a set down to beat the German 3-2 (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 13-15, 11-5).

The world No. 60 Manika Batra will now face Giorgia Piccolin of Italy in the round of 16.

Later, Tokyo Olympian G Sathiyan continued India’s strong showing by winning his first-round match against Can Akkuzu of France. The Indian, currently ranked 39 in the world, thwarted Akkuzu’s attempts of a comeback to emerge victorious 3-1 (14-12, 11-5, 7-11, 11-4).

G Sathiyan will take on Italian Niagol Stoyanov next for a place in the quarters.

Other men’s singles players Manav Thakkar and Harmeet Desai also moved to the round of 16.

Manav ousted Belarus’ Pavel Platonov in straight games (12-10, 11-9, 11-6) while Harmeet had to overcome a sluggish start to down Hungary’s Csaba Andras 3-2 (6-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-4).

In the women’s singles, Manika Batra was joined by Archana Kamath and Sreeja Akula in the last 16.

World No. 134 Archana stunned world No. 58 and fifth seed Yana Noskova of Russia 3-2 (11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 5-11, 11-9) while Sreeja, who was also stretched to five sets, prevailed over Sweden’s Linda Bergstrom by a 3-2 (11-8, 6-11, 14-12, 2-11, 11-7) margin.

Reeth Tennison, however, was overwhelmed by Tokyo Olympian and 76th-ranked Szandra Pergel of Hungary. Reeth took the first two games 12-10, 11-6 but lost the next three 6-11, 8-11, 7-11 to crash out of the round of 32.

In the all-India men’s doubles battle, Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar prevailed 3-1 (11-5, 7-11, 7-11, 11-13) over Manush Shah and Jeet Chandra in the round of 16.

Snehit Suravajjula paired up with Sanil Shetty to become the second men’s doubles team from India to qualify for the quarter-finals after beating Simon Belik and Tomas Martinko of the Czech Republic 3-1 (11-5, 5-11, 2-11, 8-11).

However, India’s challenge in the women’s doubles ended after Selena Selvakumar and Sreeja Akula lost to Sweden’s Linda Bergstrom and Christina Kallberg. The Indian women went down 3-1 (8-11, 12-10, 5-11, 8-11) in their opening contest.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra also made it to the last eight of the mixed doubles after blanking compatriots Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar 3-0 (11-3, 11-6, 14-12).