WTT Contender Doha: Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula falter one step away from the main draw

The duo, thus, failed to qualify for the main draw following a good show in the third round of qualifying.

By Samrat Chakraborty

It turned out to be a disappointing end for India in the women's singles qualifiers as Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula lost their round 4 matches on Tuesday at the WTT Contender in Doha.

The duo, disappointingly, faltered one step away from the main draw of the tournament.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist Batra lost the final round match 5-11, 6-11, 14-12, 5-11 in a lopsided contest against Ganna Gaponava of Ukraine.

World No.150 Sreeja, meanwhile, lost a close battle to Mariia Tailakova from Russia 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 5-11. Interestingly, Tailakova outclassed promising Indian youngster Archana Kamath (12-14, 8-11, 8-11) earlier in the day before claiming Sreeja's scalp.

Akula Sreeja was ever so close to making it to the main draw of the WTT Contender

Batra had, earlier in the day, beaten Romania’s Irina Ciobanu 11-7, 15-13, 11-8 comfortably in the third round of women's singles qualifiers while Sreeja got the better off World No. 74 Vega Paulina of Chile with the final score of 11-5, 11-5, 11-6.

In the men's singles third-round qualifiers, Harmeet Desai registered an unexpected loss 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 2-11 to Russia's Alexander Shibaev. Despite dominating the first two games, Desai lost his nerves at a crucial juncture and ended up capitulating to the Russian.

With Batra and Sreeja losing, India will not have any representation in the main draw of the WTT Contender in women's singles and doubles.

Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran have received direct entries in the men's singles event and will be in action on Wednesday. The two star paddlers will also pair up in the men's doubles event as well.

India's other representation in the main draw will be in the mixed doubles where the duo of Sathiyan and Sutirtha Mukherjee will be looking to shine after sealing their qualification on Monday.