World No 5 mixed doubles team G Sathiyan and Manika Batra got off to a shaky start at the World Table Tennis Championships in Durban on Saturday. The Indian duo had to come from behind to beat Luxembourg’s Xia Lian Ni and Luka Mladenovic 3-2 in the Round of 64 tie, in a match that lasted 44 minutes.
Batra was also in action later on, as she and her women’s doubles partner Archana Kamath beat American pair Emily Quan and Yishiuan Lin 3-1 (10-12, 11-2, 11-9, 11-5).
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In the mixed doubles event, Sathiyan and Batra lost the opening game 9-11 but levelled proceedings by taking the second 11-8. They were trailing again, losing a tight third 14-16 before wrapping up the match with identical 11-7 scorelines in the fourth and fifth games.
Batra though wasn’t the only Indian who played two matches on Day 1 of the Championships.
National champion in singles and doubles took to the field twice. She beat Italy’s Nicole Arlia 4-1 (11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5), before pairing up with Diya Chitale to beat Arlia and compatriot Gaia Monfardini 3-2 (8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9).
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Reeth Tennison also managed to get to the second round of the women’s singles event with a 4-2 (11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 14-12, 11-3, 11-8) win over Hana Arapovic of Croatia.
There were a few defeats though, as Harmeet Desai, Sutirtha Mukherjee and Manush Shah lost in their respective singles matches.
Desai lost 1-4 to Tiago Apolonia (13-11, 6-11, 4-11, 9-11, 13-15) of Portugal. Mukherjee was beaten by Tatiana Kukulkova in a tight match that ended 3-4 (11-3, 11-4, 10-12, 10-12, 6-11, 11-5, 8-11) against the Indian. And Manush Shah lost to South Korea’s Cho Seungmin 1-4 (8-11, 11-7, 11-13, 5-11, 5-11).
Indian TT squad for the World Championships
Men’s singles: G Sathiyan, Achanta Sharath Kamal, Harmeet Desai, Manush Shah
Women’s singles: Manika Batra, Sreeja Akula, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Reeth Rishya
Men’s doubles: Achanta Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan; Manush Shah and Harmeet Desai
Women’s doubles: Manika Batra and Archana Kamath; Sreeja Akula and Diya Chitale
Mixed doubles: G Sathiyan and Manika Batra; Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath
The World Championships will take place in Durban, South Africa, starting on Saturday, May 20. Here are the details of the event.