WTT Contender Tunis table tennis: G Sathiyan advances; Manika Batra, Sharath Kamal bow out from singles

Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal, India’s top ranked table tennis players, lost their opening round women’s and men’s singles matches, respectively.

By Aarish Ansari
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran made it to the second round of the WTT Contender Tunis 2021 table tennis tournament on Wednesday while Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal’s singles campaign ended in the opening round.

The day started on a sombre note for India as Tokyo Olympian Manika Batra, the top ranked Indian women’s singles player, was knocked out by Nina Mittelham, the fourth seed.

Nina Mittelham, the world No. 33 from Germany, beat the 58th-ranked Manika Batra comfortably by a 3-1 (6-11, 12-10, 8-11, 3-11) margin.

Later, Achanta Sharath Kamal went down fighting in the men’s singles.

The fifth-seeded Sharath Kamal went toe-to-toe in a grueling five-setter against Vitor Ishiy of Brazil but eventually lost the round of 32 clash 3-2 (5-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10).

Meanwhile, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran was the only Indian to make it to the next round in the singles category.

The world No. 37 and eighth-seeded G Sathiyan advanced to the round of 16 with a 3-0 win over Alvaro Robles of Spain. The match, however, was closer than the scoreline suggests.

Only two points separated both players in all three games as G Sathiyan prevailed 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.

Both of India’s men’s doubles pairs also registered wins in the first round.

Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manav Thakkar defeated David Serdaroglu and Alexander Chen of Austria 3-1 while Harmeet Desai and G Sathiyan handed a 3-2 loss to Germany’s Tobias Hippler and Kilian Ort.

Late in the night, India's only mixed doubles team of G Sathiyan and Manika Batra also advanced to the second round, beating Argentina's Horacio Cifuentes and Camila Arguelles 3-1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9).

However, Selena Selvakumar, who made it through the qualifiers, exited in the first round. She lost to Dina Meshref of Egypt 3-0 (11-8, 11-3, 11-4), as India's campaign in the women's singles came to an end.

G Sathiyan and all doubles pairs will be in action on Thursday.


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