G Sathiyan, Manika Batra oust top seed in mixed doubles at WTT Contender Budapest

The Indian table tennis duo registered a 3-2 win over the world No. 7 pair of Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova to move into the semi-finals in Hungary.

By Naveen Peter
Picture by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/ Getty Images

Indian mixed doubles pair of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra stunned the top seeds Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova of Slovakia to move into the semi-finals of the WTT Contender Budapest on Wednesday.

The Indian internationals, who have been in great touch at the Hungary event, continued their form to beat the world No. 7 pair 3-2 (11-4, 3-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9) in the last-eight match.

Manika Batra continued her winning run in the singles as well. The top-ranked Indian table tennis player beat Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin 3-2 (12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8) to seal her place in the quarter-finals of the women’s event.

G Sathiyan, however, bowed out of the men’s singles event following an uncharacteristic loss to the world No. 102, Italian Niagol Stoyanov.

Ranked 39th in the world, G Sathiyan was expected to ease through the contest. But the Italian turned the tables on him with a 12-10, 11-7, 12-10, 19-17 win.

Later, Manav Thakkar and Harmeet Desai too lost their respective Round of 16 encounters in the men’s singles.

While Manav Thakkar lost to Russia’s Kirill Skachkob 3-2 (10-12, 13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9), Harmeet Desai fell short against Dang Qiu of Germany 3-1 (5-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-4).

The Indian duo, however, won their men’s double match to confirm a place in the semi-finals. They beat the local pair Erik Huzsvar and David Szantosi 3-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8).

Sreeja Akula too held her ground to beat a higher-ranked Barbora Balazova of Slovakia in straight games to move into the last eight of the women’s singles.

Ranked 150th in the world, the Indian TT player registered an 11-9, 11-6, 13-11 win over the world No. 53 to keep her WTT Contender campaign alive. Sreeja Akula will take on Manika Batra next for a place in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Archana Kamath had to bow out of the WTT Contender Budapest following her 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-6) loss to Russia’s Mariia Tailakova.