Manika upsets Chinese World No. 7 in Asian Cup, Bangkok
Manika Batra will clash with world No. 23 Chen Szu Yu from Taipei in the quarterfinals today.
Bangkok: Manika Batra caused the biggest upset of the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup Tournament so far when she sent World No. 7 and third-seeded Chen Xingtong packing at the Hua Mak Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.
In the Round of 16 match-ups on the first day, unseeded and World No.44 Manika came up with a fantastic showing to beat the Chinese 4-3 (8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9) in an edge-of-the-seat thriller with the Thai crowd extending full-throated support to the Indian.
The match became a thriller for the sheer determination of both competitors as the battle went down to the wire and for the exemplary courage that Manika displayed when the Chinese paddler gained the upper hand after levelling the score 3-3.
Shedding her cautious approach, Manika went for the kill in the decider and led 5-2, 8-3, 8-7 and 9-7 before the third seed managed to hold her serve to level 9-9. Nevertheless, Manika seized the moment to serve out her opponent, taking the last two crucial points to beat the third Chinese in her career.
She thanked the spectators for supporting and cheering her.
“The win gave me immense happiness when I beat the World No. 7. I will continue playing my
best as I have tried all the time, and will keep the same intensity and focus for the next rounds,”
Manika kept abreast of the flow and led all the games. In the first game, she led the first
game 7-4 to let the Chinese claw her way back to take it. But she picked up momentum, mixing
the up-and-down pace cleverly to confuse her opponent. It paid off as she led 3-1. But the
Chinese closed in on, taking the next two games when Manika attacked. But everything changed
in the last game when the Indian got her rhythm back to nail it.
Earlier, G. Sathiyan, the top-ranked Indian in the world at No. 39, did everything right until the decider before going down 3-4 to the fifth-seed Japanese Yukiya Uda in the pre-quarterfinals.
Although the Japanese won 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6, Sathiyan showed great character when down 0-2 to strike back against World No. 26 and level the score 2-2. But the Japanese left-hander, playing well away from the table and exploiting the angles, led 3-2.
In the fifth game, Uda should have taken the match in his favour, but Sathiyan fought back well to reduce the margin.
He narrowed the two-point gap to restore parity at 9-9, and at deuce, the Japanese squandered the advantage when his service took the edge of the table and went down. With momentum shifting his way, Sathiyan served at 11-10 to claim the crucial point to take the issue to the decider.
In the last game, Uda held the upper hand and stopped Sathiyan well short, advancing to the quarterfinals with 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6 triumph.
Sathyan’s first-round exit, however, fetched him $ 2,250.
Sharath Kamal is slated to play Chuang Chih-Yuan, ranked No. 16 in the world, from the Chinese Taipei later tonight. (UNI)