World TT C’ships: Sathiyan-Manika, Sharath-Archana move to round of 16 in mixed doubles

India’s mixed doubles pairs, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran-Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal-Archana Kamath advanced to the round of 16 at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships Finals, here on Friday.

Kamal and Archana came from behind to register victory against Egyptian duo of Dina Meshref and Omar Assar 3-2 (9-11, 2-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-4) to set up a final 16 clash against Fran’e’s Jia Nan Yuan and Emmanuel Lebesson.

The Indian duo had earlier beaten the Algerian team of Sami Kherouf and Katia Kessaci in the first round.

On the other hand, Sathiyan and Manika, who had got a first-round bye, beat Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz and Brian Afanador 3-1 (11-6, 3-11, 11-7, 11-0) in the round of 32. They will now face the Sino-American pair of Kanak Jha and Wang Manyu next.

Notably, American and Chinese players have partnered up for doubles events at the world championships to mark the 50th anniver’ary of ‘ping-pong d’plomacy’ – a diplomatic initiative from the 1970s which saw table tennis players play a significant role in mending the tense relationship between the USA and China in the post-Cold War era.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Olympian Manika Batra and Archana Kamath also secured a comfortable victory in’the women’s doubles. They be’t Belgium’s Margo Degraef and Nathalie Marchetti 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-6) in the round of 32.

However, G Sathiyan lost 3-4 (9-11, 11-7, 15-13, 3-11, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11) to the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Quadri Aruna of Nigeri’ in the men’s singles. W’th Sathiyan’s’loss, India’s singles campaign at the tournament came to an end.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sharath Kamal also exited the men’s doubles after a 1-3 (9-11, 11-9, 11-13, 7-11) loss to the Swedish pair of Truls Moregardh and Anton Kallberg in the second round. The Indian duo got a bye in the first round.

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