What's the story?
Manika Batra has made it through to both the Singles and Doubles Main Draw of the ongoing 2020 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Hungarian Open.
24-year-old Manika Batra has been in top form at the ongoing tournament in Budapest, Hungary. The ace Indian paddler faced Aikaterini Toliou of Greece in her first match of the Preliminary round. Batra put up a scintillating display to defeat the World Rank 180 paddler 11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 in straight games.
The heart of the matter
In her second preliminary round singles match, Manika was up against Jamila Laurenti. The young Italian shockingly won the first game but Batra reconciled quickly and decimated Jamila 9-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 to win the match rather comfortably in the end. The Delhi-born paddler was alternating well between the backhand and forehand and placed many of her shots to perfection. She always kept the opponent guessing.
Earlier, the Mixed Doubles pair of Manika Batra and Achanta Sharath Kamal had defeated the Belarusian pair of Aliaksandr Khanin and Trigolos Daria 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11 in a well-contested Preliminary Round 2 match on Table 8 of the Budapest Olympic Hall.
With this, India's highest-ranked Women's paddler, Manika Batra completed three stunning victories and entered the main draw of the Hungarian Open in both Singles and Mixed Doubles.
Meanwhile, Sutirtha Mukherjee, who the only Indian paddler in the fray in Women's Singles, bowed out after her heartbreaking loss to Dutchwoman Britt Eerland in the third round qualifying match. The Indian fought well and was even in a 2-1 lead but the Netherlands paddler eventually won 12-10, 8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-5, 13-11 in a six-game thriller that lasted a little over an hour.
Furthermore, Achanta Sharath Kamal bowed out from Men's Singles after his 4-1 loss to Austria's Stefan Fegerl in what was his first hurdle. Meanwhile, Harmeet Desai, who had won the third preliminary qualifying match against Chien-An Chen, faltered against Polish paddler Jakub Dyjas in the final qualifying round and lost 4-1.
Manika Batra will be locking horns with Chinese Teipei's Szu-Yu Chen in the Round of 32 match in the Women's Singles main draw.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who had got a direct entry to the Men's Singles main draw, will be up against Noshad Alalmiyan of Iran in his tournament opener. He will also team up with Achanta Sharath Kamal to play a Mixed Doubles pre-quarterfinal match against the Japanese duo of Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda.
Another Indian Men's Doubles pair who made it through to the main draw are Manav Thakkar and Harmeet Desai. They will rub shoulders with Hong Kong's Siu Hang Lam and Pak Nam NG in the Round of 16 match.
Finally, the Mixed Doubles duo of Manika-Achanta will take on Hungary's Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel.
All the aforementioned matches will take place on 20 February 2020.