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Manika enters pre-quarters of Saudi Smash WTT event

Mankia Batra
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Harmeet-Yashaswini pair moves in pre-quarterfinals

New Delhi, May 6: Manika Batra made her best return to form with less than three months to go for the Paris Olympics as the 28-year-old Indian shocked World No. 2 Wang Manyu to enter the pre-quarterfinals of the Saudi Smash at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah today.

Manika beat the second-seeded Chinese 3-1 (6-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10), taking just 37 minutes. Though Manika lost the opening game against the 25-year-old, she fought back well to take the next two games quickly. The world No. 2 kept herself in the match until Manika, without giving her another opportunity, claimed the last two points to seal the Chinese fate.

The unseeded and world No. 39 Manika, who accounted for Andreea Dragoman of Romania yesterday, clashes with Nina Mittelham of Germany, ranked No. 14 in the world, tomorrow.

In mixed doubles, Harmeet Desai and Yashaswini Ghorpade surprised the Spanish fifth-seeded pair of Alvaro Robles and Maria Xiao 3-2 (11-5, 5-11, 3-11, 11-7,11-7) to storm into the quarterfinals. In the pre-quarters, the Indian duo had beaten the Chilean duo Nicolas Burgos and Paulina Vega 3-2 (11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5).

The Asian Games bronze medallists Ayhika and Sutirtha Mukherjee ended a successful day in Jeddah when the pair defeated Mariam and Marwa Alhodaby 3-0 (11-7, 1-3, 11-4) to enter the pre-quarters.

The Asian Games bronze medallists Ayhika and Sutirtha Mukherjee ended a successful day in Jeddah when the pair defeated Mariam and Marwa Alhodaby 3-0 (11-7, 1-3, 11-4) to enter the pre-quarters.

However, Sreeja Akula, who upstaged Manika in the world ranking to occupy the No. 38 position, lost 7-11, 11-3, 11-9, 12-14 to Jieni Saho after leading the Portuguese in two games. Earlier other Indians went down with good fights in singles including A. Sharath Kamal, Archana Kamath, Manav Thakkar and Sutirtha Mukherjee.

Sharath, who met Aruna Qadri of Nigeria in the round of 64, lost after a gutsy performance as he led 2-0. Qadri beat Sharath 8-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 13-11.

–TTFI

 

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