Young India paddler Sreeja Akula outshone a higher-ranked opponent to progress into the last round of the women’s singles qualifiers alongside Manika Batra at the WTT Contender Doha on Tuesday. Manika and Sreeja are now just a win away from making their way into the main draw.
The World No 150 from Hyderabad, Sreeja prevailed over World No 74 Vega Paulina of Chile in the previous round and sent Thailand’s 87th-ranked Orawan Paranang packing 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 in the third round. She will now take on Russia’s Mariia Tailakova in the final round. Tailakova entered the last round with a 14-12, 11-8, 11-8 win over India’s Archana Kamath.
Living up to her reputation, Commonwealth Games gold medalist and star Indian paddler Batra got the better of Romania’s Irina Ciobanu 11-7, 15-13, 11-8 comfortably in the third round of women’s singles qualifiers and will face Ganna Gaponova of Ukraine in the last round.
Earlier in the final round matches of mixed doubles qualifiers, Indian pair of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sutirtha Mukherjee grabbed a spot in the main draw after a straight-sets 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 victory against Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez and Melanie Diaz.
However, the country’s other pair of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Batra failed to take advantage of an early game lead and lost out to Russia’s Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova by a 11-9, 11-13, 11-13, 3-11 scoreline.
Harmeet Desai also suffered an 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 2-11 defeat against Russia’s Alexander Shibaev in the third-round match of the men’s singles qualifiers. Despite dominating the first two games, Desai couldn’t hold his nerves and conceded an unexpected loss.