Champ Sutirtha Mukherjee bows out, Manika Batra advances at TT nationals

Reigning champion Sutirtha Mukherjee lost out in the Round of 16 at the Senior National Table Tennis meet while top-seed Manika Batra kept her hopes alive.

By Naveen Peter

Defending champion Sutirtha Mukherjee bowed out of the 82nd Senior National Table Tennis Championships while top-seed Manika Batra took another step closer to the crown at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium in Panchkula on Wednesday.

Up against Reeth Rishya of the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) in the Round of 16, the 25-year-old Sutirtha Mukherjee had herself to blame as she failed to press for the advantage and eventually ended up buckling under pressure to a 4-3 loss (6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6).

Meanwhile, Manika Batra had to dig deep for a 4-3 win over one of India’s NextGen stars Archana Kamath of Karnataka in the quarter-finals.

Representing her employers PSPB, Manika Batra was caught wanting midway through her tie as she let a 2-0 advantage slip. 

Though the 20-year-old Archana Kamath did well to rally and eke out a 3-2 lead, it was not enough against the quality of Manika Batra as the gold medallist from the 2018 Commonwealth Games forced her opponent into committing errors frequently. Manika won the match 13-11, 11-9, 4-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4.

The 25-year-old Manika Batra will take on Sreeja Akula of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) who beat Bengal’s Prapti Sen 4-3 in another closely contested match.

The second semi-final in the women’s singles will see Takeme Sarkar of the Railways taking on PSPB’s Rishya Reeth.

While Rishya Reeth continued her form into the last-eight with a 4-2 win over Kaushani Nath of the Railways, Takeme Sarkar got the better of Pooja Sahasrabudhe of Maharashtra 4-2.

Senior National Table Tennis Championship semi-final line-up

Manika Batra (PSPB) vs Sreeja Akula (RBI)

Takeme Sarkar (Railways) vs Rishya Reeth (PSPB)