Manika Batra, Harmeet Desai register easy wins in qualifying rounds of WTT Contender series

Manika Batra
Manika Batra

Indian paddlers Manika Batra and Harmeet Desai got off to a flying start at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender series tournament in Doha on Monday. Both registered commanding wins in qualifying rounds.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra dished out a clinical performance against Spain's Sofia-Xuan Zhang. Batra hardly broke a sweat in her 12-10, 14-12, 11-8 win in Round 2 of women's singles qualifying.

Asian Games bronze medallist Harmeet Desai sprinted to an easy 11-5, 12-10, 11-6 victory over Anthony Amalraj to advance to the third round of men's singles qualifying.

Also Read: 'Manika Batra's CWG golds brought table tennis into notice' - Sharath Kamal

Dismal day for Sutirtha, Mudit, and Chitale

Sutirtha Mukherjee (left) in action
Sutirtha Mukherjee (left) in action

Sutirtha Mukherjee, Mudit Dani, and Diya Chitale, however, suffered losses in their respective singles events.

Former national champion Sutirtha could not get past Ukraine's Tetyana Bilenko and lost 5-11, 3-11, 12-10, 9-11 in a lop-sided affair. Mudit, ranked 200, fell to World No. 85 Olah Benedek of Finland 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11.

Chitale began on a thumping note with a one-game lead but was ultimately shown the door by Romania's Irina Ciobanu 11-8, 9-11, 3-11, 8-11.

Sharath, Sathiyan received direct entries

G. Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal
G. Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal

Nine-time national champion Achanta Sharath Kamal and current national champion Sathiyan Gnanasekaran are the only Indian paddlers to have received direct entries into the men's singles main draw. They will be in action later this week.

The World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender series tournament is the first major international event of the year in the sport following the coronavirus lockdown.

First tournament for Manika Batra and Sathiyan since Nationals wins

The Indian paddlers were last seen in action at the 82nd National Table Tennis Championships in February. Sathiyan defeated close rival Sharath Kamal 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 in what was a closely-contested final match.

The women's singles title went to Manika Batra, who beat Reeth Rishya for her second Nationals crown.

Also Read: Sathiyan ends national TT title drought with win over Sharath Kamal

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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