WTT Contender Doha: Manika Batra, Harmeet Desai win; Sathiyan-Mukherjee pair seal main draw spot

The main draws at WTT Contender will get underway from March 6 

By Samrat Chakraborty
Picture by PPP/ITTF

Indian table tennis players registered a mixed day at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender series qualifiers on Monday.

Star women's paddler Manika Batra and Harmeet Desai won their respective qualifying round 2 matches but Sutirtha Mukherjee and Diya Chitale lost their singles matches.

In mixed doubles, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sutirtha Mukherjee sealed their spot in the main draw with an easy victory.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Batra hardly broke a sweat to overpower her Spanish counter-part Sofia-Xuan Zhang in the women's singles contest. She will be up against Romania's Irina Ciobanu in round 3.

The 27-year-old Desai, meanwhile, registered a convincing 11-5, 12-10, 11-6 win over his Indian compatriot Anthony Amalraj. He will next face Russia's Alexander Shibaev.

India's Anthony Amalraj was beaten by compatriot Harmeet Desai
Picture by PPP/ITTF

Mukherjee, two-time national champion, lost 5-11, 3-11, 12-10, 9-11 to Tetyana Bilenko from Ukraine.

Chitale, meanwhile, started the game on a positive note but lost momentum as she went down fighting 11-8, 9-11, 3-11, 8-11 against World No. 98 Irina Ciobanu from Romania.

Promising youngster Archana Kamath, who registered a dominating win on Sunday in the first round, went on to progress with yet another enterprising display in round 2. She defeated Barbora Balazova of Slovakia 11-5,11-8, 6-11, 12-10.

25-year-old paddler Reeth Tennison meanwhile suffered defeat at the hands of Rachel Moret of Switzerland who registered a dominating 11-3, 11-5, 11-13, 11-6 win.

Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra were defeated

India also had an average day in mixed doubles, with the Sathiyan Gnanasekaran-Sutirtha Mukherjee pair clinching their spot in the main draw of the WTT contender while Achanta Sharath Kamal-Manika Batra duo fell short.

Sathiyan and Mukherjee won against Puerto Rican pair of Daniel Gonzalez and Melanie Diaz with relative ease (11-5, 11-7, 11-5) to seal their spot in the main draw. It was an impressive performance from the duo who were in total control of the match from start to finish. Sathiyan played the role of the aggressor to perfection while Mukherjee supported him ably.

However, there was disappointment for India as Sharath Kamal and Batra lost out to Russia's Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova (11-9, 11-13, 11-13, 3-11).

The men's and women's singles qualifying round will run from February 28 to March 2 while the main draw will commence from March 3 to 6.

It should be noted that National Champion Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and three-time Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal have received direct entries to the main draw of the men's singles event.

The tournament will also serve as a fine platform of preparation for the top Indian paddlers ahead of the Asian Olympic qualifier from March 13 to 15 in Doha followed by the World Olympic qualifier at the same venue from March 16 to 19.