Manika Batra and Mouma Das created history by becoming the first Indian pair to enter the quarter-finals of the World Table Tennis Championships on Thursday.
The Indians got a walkover from the Netherlands and Polish combination of Li Jie and Li Quian as the latter was reportedly hospitalised on Wednesday night after falling sick.
After beating a Russian pair in the previous round, the Indian women pair were ready for their Polish-Dutch duo. But Manika and Mouma ending up getting a bye, when their opponents did not turn up for their pre-quarterfinal match and the Indians were declared 4-0 winners.
They will now take on China’s Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen on Friday in the quarter-finals.
“Playing against China at the World Championships in the main hall is so so special, it has not sunken in yet. We are ready to face them, and we believe that if we play good, we have chance to bear them,” Das was quoted as saying by the ITTF website.
According to the ITTF, Prisca Rosario of India made it to the quarter finals of the 1956 World Championship in Tokyo partnering USA’s Robinson and Krishna Nagaraj reached the quarterfinal in men’s singles in the same championships. No men’s doubles pair has ever made it to the quarter finals stage. This is therefore new territory for Indian paddlers.
Meanwhile, Sharath Kamal reached the round of 32, beating Ukraines Kou Lei in straight games 11-3, 11-9, 14-12, 11-3.
Sharath, ranked 43 in the world, defeated the Ukrainian, ranked 24. In his next round, the top-ranked Indian will meet either Austrian Habesohin or Chinese Lin Gaoyuan on Friday.