WTT Star Contender qualifiers: Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra miss mixed doubles berth

None of the other men’s and women’s singles Indian table tennis players in the qualifiers managed to progress to the main draw.

By Utathya Nag

India’s mixed doubles table tennis pair of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra fell short of qualifying for the WTT Star Contender 2021 in Doha after losing their second-round qualifier against Mexico’s Marcos Madrid and Yadira Silva.

Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra got a bye in the first round and needed to win the second round to get into the main draw. The Indian duo, however, lost the match 3-1.

Both Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra, though, will be involved in men’s and women’s singles respectively after securing direct entry as top-ranked men’s and women’s players from the country.

Sharath Kamal is world No. 32 in men’s table tennis rankings while Manika Batra sits at No. 63 in the women’s leaderboard. World No. 37 Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, in men’s singles, will be the only other Indian involved in the main draw.

All other Indians playing the qualifiers also struck out.

In men’s singles, Anthony Amalraj and Harmeet Desai failed to get past the first round of qualifiers, losing to Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa and Ukraine’s Yevhen Pryshchepa respectively.

World No 99 Anthony Amalraj lost his match 3-1 while world No. 73 Harmeet Desai went down 4-0.

Women’s singles, meanwhile, saw Diya Chitale, Archana Kamath and Sreeja Akula bow out in the first round itself.

World No. 95 Sutirtha Mukherjee and world No. 131 Ahyika Mukherjee won their first round matches and progressed to the second round.

Their run, though, ended there. Sutirtha squandered a two-set advantage against South Korea’s Hayeong Kim to lose 3-2 while Romania’s Irina Ciobanu ended Ahyika’s run, beating her 3-0.

There are three qualifying rounds in singles and two qualifying rounds in doubles at the WTT Star Contender Doha.

The main draw of the WTT Star Contender Doha runs from March 8 to 13.