Hangzhou, September 30
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra produced an error-filled game to get knocked out in the quarterfinals of the women’s singles table tennis competition at the Asian Games here on Saturday.
Manika went down against world No. 4 Yidi Wang of China 8-11, 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 14-12, 5-11 and her defeat also marked the end of India’s campaign in the singles event at the Hangzhou Games.
The ace Indian paddler lost the first game 8-11, as she showed a distinct weakness on her backhand.
Even when she won the second and fifth games, it was more about the Chinese player making unforced errors in her eagerness to close out the points.
The classic example came in the fifth game when the Chinese sprayed an easy forehand while leading 11-10, which allowed Manika to claw back.
But in the sixth game, Wang regained her focus and peppered Manika’s backhand with powerful shots that the latter failed to reply properly.
Manika tried to fight back with a couple of powerful forehands but Wang’s astonishing retrieving ability left the Indian frustrated.
Fittingly, a backhand error from Manika that brought the match to an end.
Wang’s laser-guided forehand found Manika fumbling as her backhand return sailed well wide of the table.
Earlier, India’s men’s double pair of Manush Shah and Manav Thakkar also bowed out in the quarterfinals.
They were beaten by South Korean pair Woojin Jang and Jonghoon Lim 8-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 9-11 in the last eight.
The Indians were leading 6-2 in the fifth game which later transpired to 9-9, but they squandered the chances to go down against the Koreans.
“We fought really well. We took the game to 9-9 in the last set. We were very close to winning but we have to take the learnings and move forward,” said Manush after the defeat.
On the experience of playing against the World No. 1 Korean pair, Manush said: “They are probably the toughest opponents. We had some strategies and moves that we wanted to execute, and which we did. But in the end, we couldn’t prevail.”
Later in the day, India’s Sutirtha Mukherjee and Aihika Mukherjee will face China’s Meng Chen and Yidi Wang in the women’s doubles quarterfinals.
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