Indian paddler Manika Batra’s dream run at the 2024 Saudi Smash in Jeddah came to an abrupt halt on Thursday as she went down 1-4 to Japan’s world No 5 Hina Hayata in the women’s singles quarter-finals.

The 28-year-old Batra was outplayed 11-7, 6-11, 4-11, 11-13, 2-11 in just under 40 minutes after winning the first game.

The loss to Hayata brought an end to a memorable week for the Indian, who not only advanced to a Grand Smash quarter-finals for the first time in her career but also registered her first singles main draw win at this level.

Batra had earlier started her campaign with a 11-6, 13-11, 11-8 win over a higher-ranked Andreea Dragoman of Romania, before recording a shock 6-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10 victory over world No 2 Wang Manyu of China.

The Khel Ratna awardee continued her fine touch in the Round of 16 as she beat world No 14 Nina Mittelham 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 in just 22 minutes to set up a quarter-final clash with Hayata.

“Everything is going right here,” Batra had said after reaching the quarter-finals. “Everything in my room, in my practice session, in my match.”

Batra, who had lost her status as India’s highest ranked women’s singles paddler to the young Sreeja Akula last month, is now slated to regain her spot at the top.

She is now expected to break into the top 25 of world rankings and become only the second Indian after Sathiyan Gnanasekaran to achieve the feat in singles.