Olympics TT: Manika advances to 3rd round as Sathiyan bows out
Manika BatraFile photo

Olympics TT: Manika advances to 3rd round as Sathiyan bows out

Tokyo, July 25, 2021

India's Manika Batra came back from two games down to earn a sensational win over Ukraine's Margaryta Pesotska in the second round of the women's singles table tennis event at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.

Manika rallied from 0-2 down to secure a 4-11, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 victory over Margaryta in a match that lasted 57 minutes at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday.

Margaryta, ranked 32 in the world rankings, raced to an early lead as Manika managed to collect just eight points in the first two games. The Indian then stitched longer rallies in the third game, which seemed to work wonders for her. She won the third game 11-7 and followed it up by clinching a nail-biter in the fourth.

Margaryta took the lead by winning the fifth game 11-8. But Manika struck back to win the sixth game, forcing the match into a decider. The 26-year-old was dominant but committed errors by losing two match points. In the end, she secured the match point to seal a hard-fought victory.

Manika will now face 10th seed Sofia Polcanova of Austria.

However, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran crashed out of the men's singles event losing 3-4 to Hong Kong's Lam Siu Hang, ranked 95th in the world, in a second-round match.

Sathiyan, the world No. 26, took three of the first four sets before losing the next three to crash out 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 10-12 and 6-11 to Hang. The match lasted an hour and three minutes.

Sathiyan, who received a bye in the first round, had defeated Hang twice before -- 4-0 at the 2017 India Open and 4-1 at the Spanish Open later in the year.

Hang won the first game 11-7. But Sathiyan managed to make a comeback, leading 4-1 in the second game. He eventually won the game 11-7 and levelled the match 1-1.

Sathiyan continued the comeback charge by winning the third and fourth games 11-4 and 11-5 respectively. The 28-year-old took a 3-1 lead in the match and was just one game away from progressing to the third round.

But Hang came back strongly in the fifth game, winning it 11-9 and giving the match a twist. Hang relied on forehand and backhand smashes to race to 7-3 in the sixth game. Sathiyan came back to save two match points. But Hang was able to stop Sathiyan's charge, taking the sixth game 12-10.

In the decider, the Hong Kong paddler was leading 4-2. Sathiyan tried bridging the gap but Hang marched ahead to take the final set 11-6 and complete a come-from-behind win.

Hang will now face local favourite and world No. 3, Tomokazu Harimoto, in the third round.

IANS

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