Manika Batra became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup on Saturday, beating world No 6 Hina Hayata of Japan in the bronze medal match at the Huamark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Batra, the world No 44, came up with a 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 4-11, 11-2 win to earn a podium finish.
The 27-year-old started her campaign with an upset 4-3 win over China’s world No 7 Xingtong Chen in the Round of 16, and then went onto beat world No 23 Szu-yu Chen 4-3 as well to get to the semifinal.
She faced world No 5 Mima Ito of Japan in the semifinal, but was beaten 4-2.
Batra started off the bronze medal match well, putting Hayata on the back foot with her big forehands.
Trailing 2-1, Hayata took a strong 10-6 lead in the fourth game and looked certain to level the match only for Batra to claw her way back and win the next six points in a row to go up 3-1.
Hayata did manage to reduce the deficit in the fifth game, winning it 11-4. But Batra showed her intent in the sixth game, playing aggressively towards Hayata’s backhand before eventually sealing a historic win.
“I am so happy to win the bronze medal in this Asian cup,” Batra said in a statement later. “This is really a big victory for me, defeating top players and it was so wonderful playing and fighting against them. I will continue this hard work and will give my best for my future tournaments. Just keep supporting and cheering for me Like always. Thank you everyone for being there for me.”