WTT Contender: Manika storms into singles quarters, mixed doubles semis

India’s top-ranked women’s table tennis player Manika Batra stormed into the singles quarterfinals of the WTT Contender with an impressive 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-7) win over Joo Cheonhui, here on Thursday.

World No. 36 Manika took just 24 minutes to register an emphatic over her Korean opponent ranked 129 on the ITTF rankings.

Manika will now clash with another Korean, Choi Hyojoo, ranked 53rd in the world, on Friday evening for a place in the semifinals.

In the morning session on Thursday, second seeds Manika and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran made it to the mixed doubles semifinals after defeating Maria Xiao and Alvaro Robles of Spain.

The Indian duo, who had won their last meeting against the same combination at the WTT Star Contender ESS 2022, but had lost on Qatari soil at the WTT Star Contender Doha 2022, took just 24 minutes to register a convincing 3-0 (11-9, 11-9, 11-5) win, and set up a last-four clash with Korea’s Lim Jonghoon and Shin Yubin, to be held later on Thursday.

In the other semifinal, Chinese pair of Kuai Man and Lin Shidong will take on Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong.

The Indian pair, which finished runners-up at the 2022 WTT Doha Contender, held in January last year, are the highest-seeded pair left in title contention following a shock opening day defeat for mixed doubles top seeds Jia Nan Yuan and Emmanuel Lebesson of France.

In the men’s singles Round of 16 match held on Thursday evening, veteran paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal lost 2-11, 1-11, 4-11 to Peng Xiang of China.

On Wednesday, Sathiyan had suffered a shock 1-3 defeat at the hand of Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej, ranked 92 places below him in the world rankings, in the Round of 32 match.

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