3 Indians join Manika in women singles main draw

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New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) Even as Suthirta Mukherjee, Madhurika Patkar and Archana Kamath qualified to join Manika Batra in the main draw of the ITTF World Championships on Monday, Anthony Amalraj and Manav Thakkar were just a match away from making the cut at the Budapest event.

After winning their first-round women singles group matches on the opening day (Sunday), Madhurika defeated Catherine Spicer of Trinidad and Tobago 11-3, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6; Suthirta beat Rachel Moret of Switzerland 14-12, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 and Archana overcame Slovak’s Eva Odorova 4-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 to top their respective groups.

Archana had on Sunday a tough opening match when she struggled to beat Ivana Petric of Montenegro 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5, on Monday she was 0-2 down before sizing up her Slovak opponent to win the last four games.

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On the other hand, it was rather easy for Madhurika who beat Latvia’s Sabina Musajeva 11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7 and Suthirta defeated Celia Baah Danso of Ghana 11-4, 11-5, 11-1, 11-8 in their first group matches.

Manika, because of her world rankings, was one of the top 64 women paddlers to have received direct entry to the second stage.

In men singles qualification rounds, Amalraj and Manav topped their respective groups, but will have to play preliminary round to make the main draw cut where they will join both G. Sathiyan and A. Sharath Kamal.

After accounting for Poland’s Patryk Chojnowski 11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 on Sunday in the first group match, Manav defeated Nicholas Tio of the US 11-6, 11-9, 13-11, 12-14, 11-3 on Monday to secure the top place in the group. Similarly, Amalraj who got a walkover from Kodjo Boccovi from Togo on Sunday had to just win a match against Allan Gutierrez from Gautemala. He accomplished that with ease, winning the second group match 11-6, 11-3, 11-6, 11-7.

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The preliminary matches that will decide the fate of the two Indians are slated later on Monday night with Amalraj taking on Tom Jarvis of England and Manav facing Leonardo Mutti of Italy.

The two Indian men doubles pairs of Sathiyan & Sharath, and Manav & Amalrath have received direct entries to the main draw. In women doubles, only the first Indian pair of Manika & Archana has been given the privilege. The second duo of Suthirta and Madhurika has to qualify against Lativa’s Sabina Musajeva and Inta Zdanovska to book their second stage slot.

In other scheduled mixed doubles matches later Monday night, Sharath & Manika will pair up against Mavek Badowski & Natalia Bajov of Poland, while Sathiyan & Archana will clash with Laurens Tromer & Britt Eerland of the Netherlands.

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–IANS

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