Indian paddlers began their campaign in the WTT Contender on an impressive note with the mixed doubles pair of paddlers Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra moving into the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
In the singles category, both Manika and Sharath Kamal Achanta registered wins over players ranked much higher on the rankings table to make it to the last 16 stage.
In mixed doubles, Sathiyan and Batra registered a hard-fought 3-2 win over Tin-Tin Ho and Samuel Walker of England.
The Indian pair, which finished runners-up at the 2022 WTT Doha Contender held in January last year, fought hard to register a 3-2 (6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8) win to set up a last 8 clash with Maria Xiao and Alvaro Robles of Spain.
Maria and Alavaro made it to the quarterfinals after defeating Adina Diaconu and Cristian Pletea of Romania.
Meanwhile, Manika and Sharath moved into the pre-quarterfinals of the women’s and men’s singles category.
World No 36. Manika, the lone Indian in the fray in women’s singles, overcame the challenge of World No. 23 Szu Yu Chen of Chinese Taipei 3-2 (11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5) to advance to the next round.
In men’s singles, veteran Sharath eased into the second round with a 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-8) win over Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan.
World No. 17 Chuang, a veteran himself having been around on the ITFF circuit for the last 24 years after starting off as an 18-year-old, lost to the Indian ranked 48 on the ITTF table in a match which lasted just 20 minutes.
Sharath will next meet Peng Xiang of China, who defeated France’s Emmanuel Lebesson 3-0.
In a late men’s singles match on Wednesday, Sathiyan will take on Lubomir Pistej of Slovakia.